Keep saying her name: Breonna Taylor.
A grand jury in Louisville, Kentucky, came to a decision Wednesday in the shooting death of Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was killed by police in her own home during a botched drug raid in March. According to The New York Times, one of the three former Louisville police officers involved in the incident was indicted for “wanton endangerment”; the two remaining officers who fired shots were not. No one was charged directly for killing Taylor.
After news of the verdict broke, LGBTQ activists and celebrities alike took to social media to speak out against the lack of accountability for Taylor’s killers. Actress Angelica Ross, Pulitzer-winning poet Jericho Brown, and out Pennsylvania state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta all joined the conversation, with many others chiming in to express their sadness and outrage:
this should disgust and enrage everyone who reads it. to those that need to preserve and log off, we make space for you. the rest of us, let’s take to the streets tonight. https://t.co/sDFu1Cveyv
— Fran Tirado (@fransquishco) September 23, 2020
I have almost no words.i've signed and shared.. lets get to 500,000! https://t.co/KV7qIKbjas
— Miss Peppermint. BLACK TRANS LIVES MATTER (@Peppermint247) September 24, 2020
Arrest the cops that murdered Breonna Taylor
— Andy Cohen (@Andy) September 24, 2020
Black Lives Matter. Breonna Taylor’s life mattered. What has been announced in Kentucky is not even remotely in the realm of anything that even begins to approach true justice for her murder. #BlackLivesMatter #BreonnaTaylorWasMurdered
— Anthony Rapp SAG-AFTRA National & NY Board Member (@albinokid) September 23, 2020
— Steven Canals (@StevenCanals) September 23, 2020
Nothing less than abolition.
— Tourmaline (@tourmaliiine) September 23, 2020
Raquel Willis, the former executive editor of Out magazine, highlighted how the country’s systems aren’t broken. In fact, they are operating “as intended” by consistently devaluing the lives of Black women:
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#BreonnaTaylor deserved more living and deserves more now in death. . These systems operate as intended. Recourse for harm against Black women was never in the imagination of those who first crafted them. As we dream of and fight for a better world, we can't ignore that truth. . Daniel Cameron shows why we must have a deeper conversation on representation. It can't just be about identity; it must also be about values. He showed and told the world who he was before this moment. He's a sad soul who chooses the system over the people. #BlackLivesMatter
“This country will break your heart at every possible turn,” author Roxane Gay tweeted. “But Breonna Taylor and her murder will not be forgotten. This injustice will not be forgotten.”
IRL, the verdict also sparked a deluge of night-of actions across the country, including large demonstrations in Brooklyn, New York City, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and Louisville.
The protests come on the heels of a recent resurgence of Black Lives Matter activism nationwide, including massive queer-led protests against systemic racism and police brutality at NYC’s Brooklyn Museum and Stonewall Inn.
Sadly, Taylor isn’t the only Black American to lose her life to police violence in 2020. Tony McDade, a Black trans man in Florida, and George Floyd, a Black man in Minnesota, were also killed by police earlier this year.
Rest in power, Breonna.