Our community grieves with the Nichols family and the world for the loss of a son, a father, photographer, and a talented African American man whose life was taken from him far too soon. Our community joins Tyre Deandre Nichols’ family in its sorrow and sadness. You need not be a parent to understand the immense anguish they must be experiencing as they heard and watched images of their child crying out for his mother, and pleading for help in withstanding unimaginable pain.
The United States has reached another inflection point. A moment in time when our Country needs immediate reflection and self-examination as a nation. We can no longer continue to wait for others to create the change we want to see in this world — we must take action and create change.
It was almost 33 years ago, on March 3, 1991, that Rodney King was victimized and savagely beaten by Los Angeles officers during his arrest for traffic violations. Mr. King never received justice — as all officers were acquitted on charges of “use of excessive force.” What followed after the verdict was announced was a national riot and revolution to protest racism, injustice, and inequity in our justice system and in America.
Today in 2023, we can take small comfort in knowing that the wheels of justice, albeit slowly, have turned slightly forward. All five officers directly responsible for taking Tyre’s life have been fired and charged with murder — providing an immediate action and accountability not often seen in so many similar cases before. As the Nichols’ case moves through the judicial system, we hope that those responsible will be convicted for their crimes and that the Memphis Police Department (and every police department in the country) will make the necessary steps and changes to help prevent this from happening again.
The road ahead will be difficult. Many of us will understandably struggle with what we have seen in the videos released on 1/27/23, as well as implications of how it affects our CUNY School of Medicine community and broader society. I want to remind you of the availability of resources to support you, including CUNY School of Medicine’s Counseling and Wellness Office, which you can contact through their e-mail [email protected] or number 212-650-8429.
Now more than ever, we are refocused and reminded of our shared mission to address healthcare inequity, and increase diversity and representation in medicine.
I am confident that you are excellently trained to help NYC’s most underserved communities. Continue to be shining examples of excellence. In time, we hope that other professions will embrace CUNY School of Medicine’s professional values and standards to treat everyone, especially vulnerable, marginalized, and underrepresented with compassion and respect.
I thank you for being our next generation of Healers, Leaders, and Scholars who are helping to create positive change in our communities and in our Country.
Carmen Renée Green, MD