BlackNorth Initiative

We remember and honour Tyre Nichols

We remember and honour Tyre Nichols January 31, 2023


TORONTO, ON – At this moment, we remember and honour Tyre Nichols of Memphis, Tennessee. A beloved young Black man, a father and a son. His life mattered. Tyre Nichols should be with us today, but he was tragically and violently killed.

Last weekend, we were faced with yet another video of an unjust killing of an innocent Black man at the hands of police. On behalf of the BlackNorth Initiative, we condemn the actions of the officers who committed these heinous acts and those who stood by and watched. It is heartbreaking that this death comes at the hands of officers who took an oath to serve and protect.

Despite global commitments to eradicate anti-Black systemic racism, Black lives are still criminalized. The use of excessive force by police on Black people is an ongoing widespread issue.

We acknowledge the various police departments and police officers across Canada that have made public statements condemning the murder. Nonetheless, we all have a duty and responsibility to stand up against hate, prejudice, and discrimination of any kind, but police officers have an added duty also to do something when they see it. Intervening as a bystander when you witness something wrong is critical because by taking action, you have the opportunity to make a positive impact and prevent negative consequences from occurring or escalating. The Bystander Effect that caused 38 witnesses not to intervene in the murder of Catherine “Kitty” Genovese is a precedent of what should never happen again.

The coming days, weeks, and months will be a challenging period of reckoning. Our society must once again confront what it has learned and where it has failed to be better. At BlackNorth Initiative, we must reflect on the impacts of anti-Black racism and be clear-eyed about what we need to do to impact for communities who need it most.

For now, we ask you to take care of yourselves. Today, Black Canadians experience health and social inequities linked to processes of discrimination at multiple levels. The impact of these experiences throughout a lifetime can lead to chronic stress and trauma. There is growing evidence of the adverse effects of chronic stress and experiences of trauma on mental and physical health. Importantly, these effects can be felt by individuals, families, and communities across generations.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Tyre Nichols’s family. We extend our deepest condolences to the entire Nichols’s family and our support to our fellow community members. We stand with you through this incredibly difficult time.

For support, we urge you to contact your healthcare provider or the following mental health services:

Wellness Together Canada
Kids Help Phone
Canadian Mental Health Association
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
Alberta Health Services
Government of British Columbia: Mental health and substance use
Government of Manitoba: Mental health and community wellness
Government of New Brunswick: Addictions and mental health
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador: Mental health and addictions
Government of Northwest Territories: Mental wellness and addictions recovery
Nova Scotia Health Authority: Mental health and addictions
Government of Nunavut: Mental health
Government of Ontario: Find mental health support
Government of Prince Edward Island: Mental health and addictions services
Gouvernement du Québec: Access to mental health services
Government of Saskatchewan: Mental health services
Government of Yukon: Mental wellness