Interfaith Responses to the Tragic Killing of Tyre Nichols
February 10, 2023
Three days after Tyre Nichols was beaten and killed by a unit of the Memphis Police Department, and as the nation once again grappled with the senseless killing of an innocent Black man, Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, said this: “I just want to ask for prayer for my family, this whole community … and to those five officers I’m going to pray for you and your families because this should not have happened.”
The condemning of violence, valuing of life, respect for human dignity, and remembrance of those departed was captured in a grieving mother’s powerful statement. In a moment of trauma and extreme anguish she reminded us that for many the solace for this grief is deeply rooted in their faith or spiritual traditions.
These sentiments reverberated throughout religious communities and evoked reactions from diverse faith leaders across our nation. Imams, Buddhist teachers, rabbis and pastors alike responded in solidarity to Tyre Nichols’s family and community by holding vigils, releasing statements, and calling for action against injustice. It is through these responses, including the collection listed below, that we can see how religious difference is a strength that bridges communities together expressing shared ideals through diverse world views.
Speaking at Nichols’ funeral, Vice President Kamala Harris said, ‘When we talk about public safety, let us understand what it means in its truest form: Nichols should have been safe.”
- Tulsa, Oklahoma: Community Gathers for Local Interfaith Vigil Honoring Tyre Nichols.
- Greenville, North Carolina: Eastern Carolina community holding prayer vigil for Tyre Nichols’s death
- Bronx, New York: Bronx community hold vigil in solidarity on day of Tyre Nichols’ funeral
- St. Francis College, Brooklyn, New York: Statement on the Killing of Tyre Nichols
- Interfaith Council of Southwestern Connecticut: Opinion: Another death at hands of police. ‘How do we keep allowing this to happen?
- United Church of Christ statement: UCC leaders lament death of Tyre Nichols with release of fatal police beating video
- Interfaith Association of Central Ohio
- POWER Interfaith, Philadelphia: Tyre Nichols’ death is a reminder that Philly police need more oversight
- Cincinnati Jewish Community Relations Council: JCRC Statement on the Killing of Tyre Nichols and Release of Video
- Rufus Smith, Senior Pastor of Hope Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Memphis: Tyre Nichols and Prayers for Change
- Interdenominational Ministers Action Council of Delaware: Religious leaders in Delaware denounce Tyre Nichols killing, call for police reforms
- U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations: US Council of Muslim Organizations Calls for Systemic Reform After Killing of Tyre Nichols
- Religion News Service report: Tyre Nichols police beating video prompts faith leaders to react with grief, goals
- Council on American-Islamic Relations: CAIR Urges Md. Lawmakers to Pass Bills to Ban No-Knock Warrants, End Qualified Immunity in Memory of Tyre Nichols, Breonna Taylor
- Pastor Kenneth Thomas, Mount Olive Cathedral Church, Memphis: Pastor prays for peace after brutal beating of Tyre Nichols
- Buddhist teacher Pamela Ayo Yetunde: Miranda Rights? Wrong! — Dharma Teaching and the Degradation of Tyre Nichols
- Robert P. Jones: Living into lament: A white response to the killing of Tyre Nichols by police
- ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan A. Greenblatt: ADL Statement on the Murder of Tyre Nichols
- Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Chicago
- Vice President Kamala Harris: At Tyre Nichols’ funeral, VP Harris and Sharpton among those praying and promising reform
Interfaith America staff contributed to this report.