It has been over a year since you were unreasonably stolen from us. The pain of your departure is woven into American society as justice for your name has not yet prevailed. On the brightest of days, I can still hear people chanting your name. And on the darkest of nights, I hear deafening silence that masks the cries of those who are undefeated. Through documentaries, social media posts, protests and heartbreak, we continue to keep your name alive. From sea to shining sea we will manifest the destiny that you were meant to behold.
Since the murder of Breonna Shaquille Taylor on March 13, 2020, there have been several strides towards justice. In November of 2020, ABC News’ “20/20” aired a two-hour documentary that detailed the night Breonna Taylor was killed. Through deeply personal home videos, exclusive interviews and police body camera videos, details of the no-knock raid were revealed to the public. Following, two Louisville officers connected to Breonna Taylor’s death were fired earlier this year. According to NPR, Joshua Jaynes, who secured the warrant for the March 13 raid on Taylor’s home, and Detective Myles Cosgrove, who federal and Louisville investigators said fired the shot that killed the 26-year-old, were dismissed from the force in January.
Most recently, all charges were dropped from Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. According to The Hill, Walker was initially charged with assault and attempted murder of a police officer after firing shots at police, who he believed were intruders. In response to charges being dropped, Walker said on Instagram, “I’m blessed for sure but there’s a lot more to be done.”
Keeping Her Name Alive
The preservation of Breonna Taylor’s memory cannot be defined by time nor place. Her name has been shouted on the streets of every major city and plastered across the internet in hopes of maintaining her legacy. Even as mainstream media outlets and the general population refused to cover her case, several memes were created to direct consumers’ attention back to what really matters – justice. For example, one twitter user utilized click bait to formulate a viral tweet that read,
“Spaghetti Carbonara is the easiest pasta dish you will ever make with just 4 ingredients in 15 min!!! INGREDIENTS: * Arrest * The Cops * Who Killed * Breonna Taylor.”
In September of 2020, Breonna Taylor was on the cover of Oprah Magazine, the first time in 20 years that Oprah herself did not star on the cover. Lastly, as of June 2020, the Louisville Metro Council unanimously passed Breonna’s Law, which banned no-knock warrants. Since it’s enactment, versions of Breonna’s Law have been proposed in cities and states across the U.S. including Ohio, California, Wisconsin, and New Mexico.
Her Family Continues To #SayHerName
Though the pain of losing a loved one never disappears, Breonna Taylor’s family has continued to fight in her honor. In a recent interview published by The Cut, Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, and sister, Ju’Niyah Palmer described the abnormal and tortuous year they have overcome. The duo recounted their initially lonely fight towards justice saying ‘…It truly was only us, her family, in the beginning. We were the ones who kept saying her name and made sure LMPD knew they weren’t going to get away with this.’ When asked about the protests completed in Taylor’s honor, Ju’Niyah added, ‘Everybody has helped. It made us feel like we weren’t alone in this fight.’ Mentioning the lives of numerous, innocent Black lives that were stripped from us, Tamika added what justice looks like to her, ‘Charging the officers that murdered Breonna and banning no-knock warrants. I would like to see accountability, period, because it’s not just in Breonna’s case.’
Going to sleep should never be a death sentence. Breonna Taylor’s case was a mistake not only preventable but inhumane due to the police’s callous retort. As the late Malcolm X once stated, “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.” Until her memory is reflected with righteousness and truth in future textbooks, we will not stop fighting. Let the name Breonna Taylor be synonymous with justice.