UDARI Response to the Fatal Beating of Tyre Nichols

Posted on February 16, 2023 at: 9:14 pm

Dear UD Community,

Once again, discussion of systemic racism, violence, and anti-Black police violence is at the forefront after the release of disturbing video footage of the fatal beating by police of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee. Tyre, a 29 year old father, skateboarder, and photographer, should have made it home safely. Instead, we witnessed a lethal assault and the rejection of Tyre’s humanity as law enforcement and paramedics stood indifferent to the pain and injuries inflicted upon him. The UD Anti-Racism Initiative expresses profound sadness and outrage regarding this heinous and senseless act of violence perpetrated by police. 

We recognize the impact this, and other acts of police brutality, has on the physical and mental health of the African American community. UDARI reaffirms our commitment to racial justice and creating space and discourse to address and find solutions to racial inequities. Confronting and addressing racial inequities, has always been, and will continue to be, about the brutal nature of systemic power, racism, and those that choose to enforce it. 

Our collective action continues to highlight injustices while working to hold the system and individuals accountable for their actions. Faculty, staff, and students can join the UD Anti-Racism Initiative to help make change by completing the UDARI Interest Form.

Specific Examples of UDARI Committee Work AY 2022-23: 

American Indian and Indigenous Relations Committee:

The American Indian and Indigenous Relations Committee is currently utilizing UDARI grant funding in Spring 2023 to complete and publicly launch the last of the committee’s four inaugural projects, titled Keywords for Building Relationships. Intended as a non-authoritative educational resource for UD’s academic and Indigenous communities, Keywords offers language general to Indigenous Studies as well as terms focused on Nanticoke and Lenape histories in and beyond the Delaware watersheds. Keywords for Building Relationships specifically supports the University of Delaware (UD) Living Land Acknowledgement, Institutional Action Steps, and Land Grab History, by further defining the language used within them. 

Legacies of Dispossession & Enslavement committee:  

The Campus Tours Research Committee is currently utilizing UDARI funding to continue to develop and expand an in-process draft of “Black History at the University of Delaware: UDARI StoryMap.” The StoryMap provides a vital platform for telling previously under-researched and over-looked histories: of disenfranchisement and unfreedom, of racial justice activism and protest, and of Black excellence. 

American Indian and Indigenous Relations Committee & Legacies of Dispossession & Enslavement committee:  

The American Indian and Indigenous Relations committee, in collaboration with the Legacies of Dispossession & Enslavement committee, are currently utilizing UDARI funding for researching the University of Delaware’s Land Grant history. Deeper primary-source research will detail the history of the land sales that benefitted UD, which came from the resale of parts of 46 different federal territorial acquisitions that dispossessed 73 separate tribal nations. This research will provide a rich cache of materials to be used by students in the next iteration of the UDARI-sponsored and multiply cross-listed 460/660 course: Race and Inequality in Delaware, which will focus on facilitating student research on the revenues derived from this land sale and their use by the University, as well as related but understudied local histories of territorial acquisition and displacement within Delaware.

Anti-Racism Programming committee:

The Department of Women & Gender Studies has been granted UDARI funding to establish a lecture and alumni awards series. Titled the Ida B. Wells Alumni Lecture and Award, the purpose of this project is two-fold, first to elevate the work of Black feminist scholars, artists and activists and to expose the university constituents and the border Delaware community to their work. This lecture and award will guarantee that at least once annually, a Black woman will be featured and honored in a campus wide event. Second, alongside the lecture, the award will elevate the work of a UD Black alum who is contributing in impactful ways in education, business, the arts, media, policy, health care, or any relevant sector. The inaugural event will take place on March 7, 2023 and will focus on Black mothers and police brutality.  

Visual & Performing Arts committee

The VPA Committee in collaboration with the newly established Jazz Degree program in the School of Music will be utilizing UDARI funding to host a series of events with Sean Jones, an internationally recognized educator and president of the Jazz Education Network. JEN supports and sustains the art form that was born out of the legacy of black resistance. JEN speaks out and actively works on behalf of justice and equality. Mr Jones will give a Lecture/talk on the theme of ‘Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice in the Jazz Music’, workshop with the Jazz Ensembles I/II, and concert with the Jazz Ensembles I/II and Faculty Jazz. 

Visual & Performing Arts committee:

Suite Blackness is utilizing a UDARI grant to support an educational coordinator who is collaborating with local teaching artists from the Delaware Institute for the Arts in Education (DiAE) and the faculty and staff at Gateway Lab School to design arts-integrated educational materials for Black History education in local schools to meet the objectives of both the UDARI and the Delaware House Bill 198, which requires Delaware public and charter schools to provide a rich and robust Black History education that leads to local action and social change.

The grassroots UD Anti-racism Initiative is one of many efforts in UD’s growing fight for anti-racism. Helpful UD resources include, but are not limited to:

If you are in need of resources to support your emotional and mental well-being at this time, please see the following resources available to you at the University:

We grieve with the family and loved ones of Tyre and will continue to work toward a more just future. 

Drs. Emerald Christopher, Lynnette Overby, and Alison Parker

UD Anti-Racism Initiative Co-Chairs