NATOMAS – After the high-profile police beating of Tyre Nichols gripped the nation, the Sacramento native is being remembered for the life he lived.
The City of Sacramento along with Nichols' family and friends unveiled Sunday a new skate park in Natomas bearing his name: Tyre Nichols Skate Park.
It was a day the family patiently waited to see.
"I want people to remember that Ty was full of love and joy and that's what I want people to feel when they're here," said LaToya Yizar, his godsister.
Formerly known as the Regency Community Skate Park, Nichols spent hours shredding there with his board. The scene was so far removed from the night of his brutal encounter with Memphis officers in January. While the officers charged with his murder await trial, the family filed a multi-million-dollar suit.
In March, the city council publicly pushed to rename the park while making upgrades.
"Strangers can become friends, and where we can try to hope for a future that no mother ever has to experience a death of their child at the brutal hands of police officers," said Councilwoman Lisa Kaplan.
Some of the new features include rails and seating.
Kaplan explained the city did not use funds on the skatepark, but did accelerate the process. Tony Hawk's non-profit organization, The Skatepark Project, and Vans spent money on the revamp.
Families and people from all walks of life formed a new bond through passion.
"That's what life is, right? One life to live," said Kel Mitchell while watching his children enjoy the recreation space. "I think that's what Tyre is all about."
Nearby, artist Keenan Chapman painted a portrait of Nichols as his way of coping with the night of the harrowing traffic stop that ultimately killed the then 29-year-old.
"I think it's really important to overshadow that negative symbolism with the light that he was," Chapman said.
This is the same light his family clings to following his death.
"It feels good because it lets us know that Tyre actually stood for a lot and people can connect with that and identify with it and they want to be a part of it," Yizar said. "So, that makes us feel very proud."
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