194 Days Too Long

True justice has yet to be obtained in the Breonna Taylor case

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Photo by Don Sniegowski, Creative Commons

A mural of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, KY.

Faith Lee, Co-Editor-in-Chief

On March 13, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American woman, was fatally shot while sleeping in her apartment after police rammed their way into her home with a “no-knock” warrant. It has been 194 days since she was senselessly murdered in her own home by three Louisville Metro Police officers and not one officer has been seriously held accountable. 

On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted one officer for endangerment of the public, but the other two officers have yet to be indicted for manslaughter: the true crime. 

In the days following her murder, there was silence. This silence often creeps up after a Black individual is shot with no video evidence. The silence is even louder when the individual is a Black woman.

Taylor’s death fell in between two deaths of African-American men, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, at the hands of white law enforcement that gained national attention, yet that is no excuse to justify the lack of intensity and swift justice in her case. As protest for the murder for Floyd ramped up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Breonna Taylor’s name and story became a rallying cry as well. 

I fear that if her death did not occur between these two, it would’ve been forgotten as many other police shootings of Black women often are. 

“SayHerName” has become a popular hashtag in regard to Taylor’s death. To advocate for justice, Oprah Winfrey selected Taylor as the cover of the September edition of The Oprah Magazine and bought 26 billboard advertisements in Louisville, Kentucky as a form of protest. 

Taylor’s story is gaining traction but no action is being taken. Today’s indictment is no more than a pacifier to show that some form of “justice” was served. Her real killers are still walking free when the crime is crystal clear: a Black woman was murdered. Maybe if we shouted louder, Taylor’s real murderers would be indicted. Our feet need to be on the gas for her as they were for George Floyd and countless other African-Americans murdered by police. 

“Arrest the killers of Breonna Taylor” has become a trendier phrase to catch people’s attention, but it quickly turned into more of a fad than an actual cry for true justice. It is saddening and outrageous that people turned a plea into a matter-of-fact phrase just to gain likes. 

Taylor’s life represents more than a trendy hashtag to gain a few more likes. She was a human. A human whose life mattered just as much as the next person’s. 

According to the Washington Post, since 2015, 249 women have been murdered by the police; 48 were Black. Out of the 48 shootings, four were recorded by police body cameras, while the other 44 were not. 

Police brutality does not only occur among Black men; Black women experience it too. We need to pay attention to Black women who suffer from this violence before we have more Breonna Taylor’s. 

A woman’s life is worth no more than a man’s, yet it is no less. A life is a life regardless of the color of one’s skin. At the end of the day, all Black lives matter; no one should be murdered for simply existing in their skin.

Police and businesses prepare for protests downtown Chicago on Wednesday afternoon following the grand jury decision on the Breonna Taylor case. (Photo by Rachael Kucharski)

It has been 194 days and counting. That is too many days that Taylor’s family has not received justice for her death. That is too many days that killers have not been held accountable for their actions. 

194 days is enough time for us to lift our voices as well. 194 days is enough for us to protest day and night to achieve justice for Taylor, so why aren’t we? Why aren’t we going harder? Why isn’t the media covering continuous peaceful protests in Taylor’s name? Why can’t a Black woman’s death grab attention as well?

This weekend could potentially be chaotic in many cities across the nation. Will Chicago cry out for justice? Will people finally scream louder for Breonna Taylor? 

The protests this weekend will prove how fed up we are of injustice.