We are heartbroken learning the latest news surrounding the videos of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols' arrest and deadly beating. And we are left wondering, why did this–a violent, brutal, dehumanizing act–happen, again? Why were the police so brutal? Why didn’t they stop? Why is this depraved indifference to human life happening? And–what can we all do to change this?
The Memphis Police Department released video late Friday evening of the officers’ brutal body-cam footage of the inhumane, fatal treatment of Nichols by Memphis police officers. Five police officers since this incident on Jan. 7, 2023, were fired and have been indicted with charges on second-degree murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault, official oppression and official misconduct. Additionally, two sheriff’s deputies have been relieved of duty pending an internal investigation.
While justice may come to be served, that does not negate that hundreds of hundreds of thousands of teachers and moms and dads and caregivers need to figure out what to say to their kids today, tomorrow and beyond. How do we make sense of this? How do we talk about this incident and continue to grapple with hate, bias, race and racism, abuse of power, and trauma? And how can we create a more just, equitable society in which we value and respect human rights and hold those in power accountable?
Unequivocally, what happened in Memphis is not okay.
Share My Lesson has assembled this collection of resources to help you as you plan for next week and discuss current events. We will continue to update these resources in the coming days.
For additional support on teaching about race and social justice, the United Federation of Teachers has assembled a list by grade of resources on their website here.