Celebrities Honor Breonna Taylor on 1-Year Anniversary of Her Death: 'Say Her Name'
Celebrities are speaking out on social media to mark the one-year anniversary of Breonna Taylor's death at the hands of Louisville, Kentucky, police.
Taylor, an aspiring nurse who had been working as an EMT, was in her apartment with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, shortly after midnight on March 13, 2020, when Louisville Metro Police officers executing a no-knock warrant charged through the door, according to the lawsuit against LMPD officers, which was filed by Palmer on April 27.
The police were executing a search warrant for an investigation into a suspected drug dealer, who police alleged had once retrieved a package at Taylor's home. But the suspected drug dealer didn't live at Taylor's building — and had, in fact, just been arrested at a different location. No drugs were found in Taylor's apartment.
The criminal shooting charges against Walker were recently permanently dismissed with prejudice, meaning he cannot be recharged for the incident.
Director Ava DuVernay posted on Twitter in honor of Taylor, sharing several photos of Taylor at different stages of her life. Actress Viola Davis later reposted DuVernay's message on her Instagram page.
"Today, Breonna Taylor should be enjoying her Saturday with family and friends," DuVernay wrote. "Instead, it's the anniversary of her murder and her killers – Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly – walk free."
"The system was built to allow this," the Selma director added. "Don't ignore that. Get involved."
"One year. It's been one year since #BreonnaTaylor was murdered and she is still without justice," actress Lupita Nyong'o wrote in her own post. "Continue to #SAYHERNAME and call (502)-735-1784 to demand legal action against Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove."
Oprah shared a portrait of Taylor on social media, writing: "For anyone whose lost a loved one, you know the "firsts" are always the hardest. The first holiday without them. The first birthday. The first anniversary of their death. A year ago today Breonna Taylor was stunned awake and shot dead in her home by plainclothes police officers. A daughter, sister, girlfriend, and friend to many was suddenly tragically gone. At first it was just Breonna's family saying her name. It took months but eventually those few voices trying desperately to bring awareness to her case turned into thousands. Those thousands of voices turned into millions. Those millions turned into a movement. A year later there is still no justice for her. But we remember. We will never forget. And loudly say her name today in honor of a life that deserved to be fully lived. BREONNA TAYLOR!"
Samuel L. Jackson similarly called on his followers to take action in Breonna's name.
"Today marks one year since #BreonnaTaylor was killed," he wrote on Twitter. "Join me, @NAACP_LDF & on-the-ground Louisville organizations in calling on your Senators to support the passing of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act which reduces police racial bias and violence against people of color."
"Say. Her. Name. BREONNA. TAYLOR," musician Common added.
Justin Timberlake shared images of Taylor on his Instagram Story, writing, "One year ago today, #BreonnaTaylor was murdered by police officers in her own home. Still, no one has been held accountable for this tragedy," later adding, "Say Her Name."
Tracee Ellis Ross posted a photo of Taylor on her Instagram, writing, "BREONNA. It has been a year since your life was taken from you, from your family, from your loved ones. You should still be here. We say your name today and always. #justiceforbreonnataylor. #sayhername"
"She wasn't a hashtag," actress Uzo Aduba wrote. "She wasn't a symbol or a headline, a viral movement or a t-shirt. She was a young woman with a life that mattered. A young woman who deserves justice and yet, one year later systems are showing that this is how it just IS. #sayhername Breonna Taylor. #justiceforbreonnataylor."
Read below for more powerful tributes from celebrities, politicians and public figures:
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
- ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
- National Cares Mentoring Movement provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.
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