Tyre Nichols, a father, a son, a friend, a family man, a community member, an employee, an African American was terrorized on January 7th, 2023 and killed by American law enforcement. The grotesque and inhumane brutality inflicted on Tyre’s body, his life, his family and our communities are symptomatic of the white-supremacist terrorism and anti-blackness embedded in American law enforcement, the criminal justice system and the larger society. We as a nation can no longer tolerate the blatant assault on and war against Black lives.
The Department of Africana Studies at California State University, Northridge demand that police brutality and the insidious murders of Black lives in America be classified and treated as federal hate crimes and human rights violations by both federal and state governments. We can no longer tolerate the injustices and terrorism we continue to experience at the hands of law enforcement. We continue to cry out that Black Lives Matter, however America is tone-deaf to the anti-Black white supremacy interwoven in the fabric, the structures, of this nation. The systematic assault on Black lives in America and the world has once again been unleashed on a young Black American, Tyre Nichols. His life has value and justice, and reparations must be rendered.
Police operate as the enforcement wing of the system of white supremacy, a system that must be dismantled. The terrorism of white supremacy and white privilege is the culture of America, and the American criminal justice system indoctrinates members of all races into this culture and awards anti-Black practices and policing. We demand an immediate end to the over-policing, militarized policing, racial profiling and the perpetual violence and trauma engulfed in American law enforcement. The six Black officers who murdered Tyre Nichols and all other officers present modeled the principles and practices of American law enforcement. Their crimes are hate crimes, are human rights violations, and are white-supremacist terrorism. Their crime is not an isolated assault but a continuum of injustice and anti-Black terrorism. They must be held accountable. The truth is, all of our nation’s institutions need to be held accountable for upholding white-supremacy and anti-Blackness.
As one of the largest public university systems in the nation, the CSU must interrogate our institutional practices that uphold white supremacy and invest time and resources into combating anti-blackness. Public transparency of racial violence against African Americans and other groups is vital in the accountability process. A public database is necessary for the documenting and reporting of anti-Black racism in the CSU. We also urge the CSU to institute a zero-tolerance policy on anti-Black policing and anti-Black terrorism.
CSUN is the home of some of the first Ethnic Studies Departments in the nation and continues to have a major impact in the world. The Department of Africana Studies at CSUN critically challenges institutional racism and systems of oppression and aim to empower our students and Black communities to make the world just and free of oppression. Our work requires institutional investment in the Department, the faculty in the form of hires and retention, and our students. As a minority serving institution, we have an obligation to invest in the success of our Black, Indigenous, Latinx/a/o, Asian and other students of color. Their health, safety and right to an empowering education cannot be compromised in the classroom or by campus policing. As a campus, we cannot mirror the terrorism of American law enforcement. Therefore, we recommend CSUN adopt a zero-tolerance policy on anti-Black policing and anti-Black terrorism on our campus. We at CSUN should challenge ourselves to be a safe space free of anti-Blackness, white supremacy and white privilege.
Our community needs hope and healing. Our Black lives matter. If you are experiencing stress, anxiety, mental health strain and/or trauma please reach out to the resources below for support.
- Students – University Counseling Services at CSUN, Bayramian Hall 520, (818) 677-2366
- Faculty/Staff – Life Matters 1-800-367-7474
- Community – CalHope.org
Department of Africana Studies
California State University, Northridge