Letter to the Community: Response to Video in the Murder of Tyre Nichols

Letter to the Community: Response to Video in the Murder of Tyre Nichols


“Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his speech “Beyond Vietnam,”
April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church in New York City.


Watching the horrible circumstances that resulted in Tyre Nichols’ death is hard to stomach. It’s never okay to normalize the beating of Black bodies, regardless of the aggressor. It is understandable to feel outraged. We can be both emotional and strategic to realize the better world we want to see.

The National Civil Rights Museum is listening and believing, so unheard voices do not have to resort to violence. We encourage responsible civil disobedience so that transformative actions lead to justice for Tyre Nichols and the thousands of others like him.

The world is watching Memphis.  Our community can set precedence for swift, effective action toward justice, but we know a lot more needs to be done. While due process takes time, we know “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

We must remain vigilant, keep unity in our community, and continue to hold our officials – and each other – accountable. It will take a collaborative effort by a broad spectrum of citizens from many disciplines, industries, and roles to root out the causes at a systemic level.

We stand ready to be a vehicle toward understanding. This is part of the message expressed daily within our museum walls as we tell stories of a centuries-long fight for civil rights. As a site of conscience and a safe space to inspire action for positive social change, it is part of our mission to respond humanely with our eyes toward solutions.

The National Civil Rights Museum is in it for the long haul so the kind of transformative, equal justice we all deserve now can happen. There’s always a tipping point, so staying ready with viable, sustainable strategies is critical.

We stand with the family of Tyre Nichols and our Memphis community until justice is served.

I share this statement to assure our community that we are with you during this troubling time and share the responsibility of seeking justice, respect, and humanity for all citizens.

Russ Wigginton
National Civil Rights Museum

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