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Dr. Jenkins Calls on Community to “not rest on hope alone”

MMSD Superintendent, Carlton D. Jenkins’ Statement on Tyre Nichols Killing

January 27, 2023

With a heavy heart, I am writing today about our nationwide shortage of human decency and justice for all. Like the noted Civil Rights leader, Fannie Lou Hamer, aren’t we all “sick and tired of being sick and tired”?

Since the beginning of the year, our nation has experienced nearly 40 mass shootings. This week, 19 people lost their lives in three separate mass killings in California; their impacts being particularly devastating for the Asian American community. Today, we learned more about the senseless killing in Memphis, Tennessee of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, a proud father of a four-year-old son, who is lovingly remembered for his love of skateboarding and photography. Within minutes of being pulled over by police for a traffic violation, Tyre was brutally beaten to death by the very police officers who stopped him.   

Expressing and processing the pain and heartbreak we feel for those impacted by these tragedies is exhausting. Although I have never met Tyre Nichols; when learning about him, I feel like I know him. I see Tyre in the scholars who walk through our school doors each day, full of hope and dreams as they work towards reaching their full potential. As a parent and grandparent, I hope and pray each day for my daughter and grandson to be met only by human decency and kindness as they navigate the very complex world in which they live. 

Today, I call on all of us to not rest on hope alone. Regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, disability, or how we identify, we should be common in our humanity.  Therefore, it is time we take action and begin to replenish our supply of human decency and justice for all! 

Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.
Madison Metropolitan School District

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