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As We Fight for Justice, We Must Continue to #SayHerName

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

Mural of breonna taylor

As we know, absolutely no one wanted it to take the loss of innocent Black life, to spur a Black Lives Matter awakening. However, that's exactly what happened last year, as demonstrators from Louisville to Las Vegas and around the world banded together and recited her name. Breonna Taylor ignited a revolution.

Breonna’s fate was sealed in the early hours of 13 March 2020, when the certified EMT who hoped to become a nurse, was shot to death by plainclothes police officers while asleep in her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky. The officers were executing a no-knock search warrant, assassinating the 26 year old by shooting 32 bullets into her home.

Her murder continues to rasie awareness of racial inequality in policing practices and the Black women who have perished at the hands of police.

While the names of numerous Black males murdered by police – Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and many others are widely recognized, the police murders of Black women rarely garner national, let alone global attention.

Breonna’s name reignited the flames of the #SayHerName movement.

It’s been 1 years since her untimely passing and no justice has been served.

A long standing history

Anti-Black racism can be found in all aspects of our society and can be felt in every area of the Black female experience. Although men are often centred, Black women and young girls are not excused from unjust regulating practices.

Black women have long been abused – raped, suppressed, worked to the bone – since the first enslaved Africans arrived on the soil of Virginia in 1619. There has continuously been indescribable levels of violence against Black women and girls.

Long before Breonna Taylor, there was a need to make space to centre Black women and push the campaign forward to acknowledge their experience.

Accountability and faith

On March 3, the House of Representatives approved the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021.

The policing reform bill will prohibit profiling based on race and religion and mandate training on profiling; ban chokeholds, carotid holds and no-knock warrants; require the use of federal funds to ensure use of body cameras; establish a National Police Misconduct Registry; amend the prosecution standard for police from "willfulness" to "recklessness" and reform qualified immunity; and require stronger data reporting on police use of force.

Although the measure was passed by the House, it still faces an unclear path in the Senate.

In October, Virginia made history by becoming the first state to pass Breonna's Law, prohibiting the use of deadly no-knock warrants. Breonna’s death helped catapult the issue to the forefront, spurring lawmakers and officials around the country to take stock of their no-knock policies and laws. A wave of similar bills have been filed in state legislatures across the country.

This is a much needed step in the right direction.

Before Breonna Taylor, Black women were rarely centered in narratives about police violence; they were rarely the catalysts for mass outrage; their deaths were often an afterthought. Which is why we must keep saying the name, Breonnna Taylor.

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