Race Forward Urges Systemic Change in Light of Police Killing of Tyre Nichols; Continued Police Violence Against People of Color

For Immediate Release

Jan. 26, 2023

Contact: [email protected]

NEW YORK — Race Forward today decried the killing of Tyre Nichols at the hands of five Memphis Police Department officers. The organization released the following statement:

“Our hearts break for the family of Tyre Nichols. No family should have to bury a loved one due to reckless and inhumane treatment from those sworn to protect and serve,” said Glenn Harris, President of Race Forward. “ We send condolences to Nichols’ family, and we simultaneously continue to call for police accountability and systemic changes to policing, particularly in communities of color.”

“Race Forward works to dismantle systems of inequity because we know racism is structured not only through skin color and ethnicity, but also through systems and structures of power,” added Charlene Sinclair, Chief of Staff at Race Forward. “In this country, racist power within policing allows those in these systems to make life-and-death decisions. These systems create environments of terror, violence, and oppression against Black people and people of color. When trauma and tragedy such as the killing of Tyre Nichols occurs, we must not only challenge person-to-person racism, but also the racism that is embedded within structures and systems.

“The immediate firing of the officers involved in Tyre Nichols death is not historically what we’ve seen. Typically, the officers are put on administrative leave, and later absolved. And while there must be individual accountability, this is bigger than the termination of individual officers. We must also demand change of the systems that permit the continued killings of Black people and people of color so there can be different outcomes.

“We not only want justice in this individual case, but we want to see a world where oppressive systems are eliminated and where the health and dignity of all people of color is upheld and prioritized. To ensure freedom for communities of color, we demand accountability and a completely transformed system.”


Founded in 1981, Race Forward brings systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity. Race Forward is home to the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, a national network of local governments working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. Race Forward publishes Colorlines and presents Facing Race, the country’s largest multiracial conference on racial justice.