Message to Brown School Community: Tyre Nichols and Systemic Racism

Faculty; Social Work; Students

Dear Brown School Community,

In the wake of ongoing violence, including that perpetrated by police and most recently the murder of Tyre Nichols on January 7th, we are struggling with the continued trauma and how it impacts our community. It feels important to acknowledge this act, while simultaneously knowing that we could be sending out these communications daily, given the pervasive degree of police brutality, gun violence, and hate crimes being perpetrated throughout this country. Many members of the Brown community are still grieving the loss of life that occurred over the Lunar New Year celebrations. It is deeply distressing to see the harm and human suffering that these acts of violence inflict.

We also recognize that systemic racism is at the root of the dehumanizing assault that took the life of Tyre Nichols. The values of our professions require us to continuously confront racism and bigotry within our communities, as well as in the larger society. It is imperative that we continue to work to advance equity and social justice. We can be catalysts for change and for policies that prevent acts like this in the future. As a school, it is our collective responsibility to lead in addressing the urgent need for social change. As a community we must work in solidarity to end the violence, racism, and bigotry that is far too common and pervasive in our world.

For now, let us offer kindness and support to one another as we process the array of emotions the issues we confront generate. Please give each other time and space to experience the full range of emotions, and to take care of ourselves, families, and our communities. The psychological distress on colleagues of color continues to be especially taxing and harmful. Let us support one another with compassion as we strive to address the underlying issues of anti-Black racism, and other forms oppression that cause so much pain. For our students, please let us know if you are struggling and need additional support.

Student Resources:

In addition, we welcome conversations with you to help you navigate these resources. If you would find this helpful, please contact:

  • Da’Shaun Scott, Assistant Director for Student Engagement,
  • Elise Harvey, Academic and Student Support Services Advisor,
  • Ragini Maddipati, Assistant Dean for Academic Programs,, (314) 935-4185

Faculty & Staff Resources:

In Solidarity,
Tonya, Rodrigo & Vetta

Tonya Edmond, Interim Co-Dean
Rodrigo Reis, Interim Co-Dean
Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis Dean’s Office | Hillman Hall MSC 1196-0251-46, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130 Ph: 314.935.6693 |