Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old award-winning EMT, was killed by police officers shortly after midnight on March 13 in Louisville, Kentucky. Officers barged into her home while performing a raid at the wrong apartment before fatally shooting her eight times. Taylor’s death has recaptured the world’s attention amid the recent Black Lives Matter and George Floyd protests—and people want justice for her.
Despite protests, pleas, and even outcry directly from Beyoncé, it took time before the officers involved faced any legal consequences—and two of them weren’t charged at all. On September 23, a grand jury indicted former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment in the fatal shooting of Taylor. The two other officers involved in the shooting, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, were not charged. A grand juror just broke their silence about the investigation, admitting publicly that the jury wasn't given a chance to consider homicide charges at all.
On September 15, the city of Louisville reached a $12 million settlement with Taylor’s family for the wrongful death lawsuit. According to the New York Times, this agreement also states Louisville will "institute reforms aimed at preventing future deaths by police officers."
In August, prosecutors considered asking Taylor’s ex to name her as a "codefendant" as part of negotiations for a plea deal (which was rejected) that would’ve incriminated her in an alleged drug scheme, and an attorney for Taylor’s family argued that prosecutors were attempting to justify her death.
Even though the Louisville Metro Council also recently passed Breonna’s Law, which bans no-knock warrants, Breonna’s mother Tamika Palmer says it’s not enough because the officers who killed Taylor are still free. She told ABC News, "Those [two employed police officers] are still being paid. [They’re] walking around as if they did nothing wrong. I’m definitely grateful that hopefully this doesn’t happen to another family, but for me, it’s no comfort."
In an effort to keep Taylor’s name in people’s mouths and get the officers involved charged with her death, writer and culture critic Cate Young (aka @BattyMamzelle on Twitter) organized and created an official link where people can demand that legal action is taken in Taylor’s case. Young started the petition in honor of what should have been Taylor’s 27th birthday on June 5.
Breonna Taylor's birthday is on Friday. I want to organize something to honour her and make sure she isn't erased. Anyone have ideas/organizing experience and want to help?
— available to write your cover story (@battymamzelle) June 2, 2020
Although Taylor’s birthday has passed, below you’ll find a list of things you can still do to honor Taylor and demand the justice she deserves.
Donate directly to her family
While grieving the loss of their family member, Taylor’s family has been actively working to make sure that justice is served. Taylor’s aunt Bianca Austin created a GoFundMe for Taylor’s mom and sister, which allows the public to contribute to them financially during this time.
While speaking to ABC News, Taylor’s mom said she is dedicated to ending police brutality and raising awareness about Black women who are killed by the police. She said:
“People don’t hear these stories about these Black women. But I’m now learning that I have a higher position in this fight, and whatever I have to do to remain in it is what I’m going to do because it should never happen to another Black daughter, another Black person, period.”
Use her hashtags and flood social media platforms
Go off on your social media accounts using the #SayHerName hashtag along with messages remembering Taylor. Utilize your platforms to make sure justice is brought to her case.
Post on the feeds and Stories of your Instagram and Facebook accounts. Post on Twitter. Post on TikTok. Let your social media be a way you spread awareness and fight for equality.
If you’re gonna post on your Instagram, make sure to tag these accounts: @GovAndyBeshear (governor of Kentucky), @RandPaul (U.S. junior senator from Kentucky), @LMPD (Louisville Metro Police Department), and/or @LouisvilleMayor (mayor of Louisville).
If you’re gonna post on Twitter, tag these handles: @LMPD.KY (Louisville Metro Police Department), @MayorGregFischer (mayor of Louisville), and/or @GovAndyBeshear (governor of Kentucky).
Even though many people’s social feeds have "gone back to normal," that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. Keep posting and let Kentucky officials know you’re still paying attention.
Donate to the Louisville Community Bail Fund
Protestors in Louisville, Kentucky—the city where Taylor was killed—have been on the streets taking action and fighting for Taylor. And many of them have been arrested for it. Consider making a donation to their bail fund so they can continue to go out and protest.
Donate to The Loveland Foundation
Established in 2018 by writer and lecturer Rachel Cargle, The Loveland Foundation offers therapy to Black women and girls specifically. Cargle founded the foundation after raising more than $250,000 (!!). You can make a donation to this foundation in Taylor’s name and help the Black community—especially Black women and girls—get access to different kinds of healing, support, and therapy.
Make some phone calls
Take advantage of public info like phone numbers and contact the people who can make sure Taylor’s case is given proper attention.
Here are some numbers to get you started:
Police Public Integrity Unit: 502-574-2136
Louisville Metro Council: 502-574-3902
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer: 502-574-2003
Kentucky District Attorney Tom Wine: 502-595-2300
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul: 202-224-4343
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear: 502-564-2611
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron: 502-696-5300
Or send some emails
You can easily do this on your phone, computer, or tablet. Write up an email urging officials to hold the officers who killed Breonna Taylor accountable. Your email can be a few sentences or a few paragraphs—whatever you think will make your voice (and Taylor’s case) heard.
Don’t know who to make it out to? Here are some email addresses to get you started:
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Police Chief Robert Schroeder: email@example.com
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kentucky District Attorney Director of Communications: email@example.com
Send a birthday card in Taylor’s honor
Not a regular birthday card though. Cate Young kick-started this whole project in celebration of Taylor’s birthday on June 5. She encouraged people to write a #BirthdayForBreonna card (or any type of letter) to the Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer, and state senators insisting they take action, hold officers accountable, and press charges against the police officers who took Taylor’s life.
Even Beyoncé took the time to write a letter to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. She published the letter on her site, asking for “swift and decisive action” against the officers.
Here’s Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s address:
Office of the Attorney General
700 Capital Avenue, Suite 118
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601-3449
And here’s Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer’s address:
Mayor Greg Fischer
527 W Jefferson Street #600
Louisville, Kentucky 40202
Your state senator’s address:
The Honorable (Name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
You can easily send a card online using Postable. Send a letter to Attorney General Daniel Cameron, Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer, and your state senator for just $4 to ensure that your outrage is heard.
Here are more guides for how to demand justice right now, how to support Black trans lives, how to find mental health resources if you’re a Black woman, how to talk to your relatives about Black Lives Matter, how to donate wisely, how to spot a fake protest story, and how to protest safely.
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