Tulsa community holds vigil in memory of Tyre Nichols

TULSA, Okla. — The Tulsa community came together Sunday evening to show support for and to honor the life of Tyre Nichols, the man who died after being beaten by police officers in Memphis, Tennessee.

The vigil took place at Morning Star Baptist Church in north Tulsa and was organized by various faith leaders, community leaders and other groups, including the Terence Crutcher foundation.

The vigil was meant to honor Nichols’ life, mourn his death and call for change.

“We have to change policy, we have to value the sanctity of life,” said Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, the founder of the Terence Crutcher Foundation.

Nearly 40 different organizations sponsored the vigil, all showing support for the message that the violence must stop.

Reverend Marlin Lavanhar represented All Souls Unitarian Church.

“Jews, Christians, Catholics, Unitarians, Muslims, we had Buddhists and Hindu and all different faith communities here supporting the Black community and saying, ‘We’re not going to take it anymore,’” he said.

Crutcher, who’s brother Terence was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Tulsa in 2016, helped to organize the vigil. She said Nichols’ death reopened old wounds.

“Our hearts are very very heavy here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, being that we’ve been here before, we’ve been in the exact same shoes as the Nichols family when my twin brother Terence Crutcher was killed in 2016 and the pain doesn’t get better, the trauma dissipates some, but every time something like this happens it opens up old wounds and emotionally my family is struggling and the community is dealing with the vicarious trauma of what happened to Mr. Nichols,” she said.

Crutcher said they intended to send a strong message across the country.

“We will send a strong message to law enforcement all across this country saying, ‘we have to change policy, we have to value the sanctity of life and we have to value Black and brown bodies in this country,’ and I’m demanding today here in this very sanctuary that the Biden administration that they act, that Congress, that leader McCarthy and Schumer that they act and that they revive the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act,” she said.

“We can no longer continue to go through this I believe that as Black people in America we’re in a state of emergency and so today we’re declaring that we start at home in our own back yard and we become a model for the nation,” she also said.

Crutcher spoke at the service, as did other community leaders from across Tulsa.

Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa called for changes to the law.

“We can get behind bills, we can get behind the George Floyd Act in Congress and say, ‘let’s not just pass it in the House side, let’s have the President sign it into law, why is that not happening?’” she said.

The service called for the community to come together. Names were also read out, including Rodney King, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

People who were at the service told FOX23 that it was powerful.

Byron Watson said he thinks the service will help the community in healing.

“Very powerful, very emotional reformative for me, I feel driven to reach out and do something to make the situation better,” said Ann Delaloye.

Tiffany Crutcher also called for a police watchdog in Tulsa, to make sure officers are acting fairly.