Nearly three months after 26-year-old EMT Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by the Louisville Metro Police Department in a botched drug raid, no officers have been charged in her killing. In fact, since her death, another black person, West Louisville barbecue caterer David McAtee, was shot and killed by law enforcement.
June 5 would have been Taylor’s 27th birthday, and activists and advocates throughout the country are galvanizing to #SayHerName and ensure she gets justice. The key, says Lonita Baker, a lawyer for Taylor’s family, is to keep up public pressure on the Louisville and Kentucky officials.
Baker, appearing on Good Morning America on Friday, urged the public to continue to put pressure on Louisville and Kentucky officials. The case is currently before Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is serving as the special prosecutor and investigating the conduct of police on the night they killed Taylor.
According to Baker, Cameron’s office has told her the investigation is “nowhere near complete”—that they predict another two to three months before reaching its conclusion.
“We don’t think it takes that long to do this investigation,” said Baker. “We, as the attorneys for the family of Breonna Taylor, we’ve been out there. We’ve talked to neighbors. We’ve seen the apartment, we know what it looks like. It doesn’t take six months to complete an investigation.”
She noted that it wasn’t until Taylor’s case was covered—globally, at that—that her family began getting answers. Within days of the investigators releasing the search warrant, for instance, the family found “straight out lies” in the document.
To help boost visibility of Taylor’s case, freelance writer Cate Young started the #BirthdayForBreonna campaign this week which highlights nine specific actions people can take to help make sure Taylor’s case is not forgotten or dismissed. The items include signing petitions and donating to the Taylor family’s GoFundMe and the Louisville Community Bail Fund, as well as emailing the Kentucky Attorney General, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, or Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear directly.
Interested people can also print out a personalized birthday card designed for Taylor’s birthday and send it directly to elected officials.
Young told the pop culture website PopSugar that the response to the campaign so far has been “incredible.” She hopes it inspires more people to get creative and think about how they can initiate their own actions to protect black women, who are also disproportionately profiled and targeted by police, but whose cases are not rallied around as urgently or as broadly as with black men.
Black women are also more likely to experience sexual violence from the police. As Andrea J. Ritchie, a police misconduct attorney and author of the book Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color told NPR in 2017, “police sexual violence...is the second most frequently reported form of police misconduct but not the second most talked about.”
“I want people to know that they don’t have to wait for people to tell them what to do. It’s important to show up for Black women and not just when they die—in their lives, too,” Young told PopSugar. “That’s something that you can do in your everyday life: you can advocate for the Black women that you know, you can check yourself, you can make sure that you’re not making their lives more difficult, at the bare minimum, That’s just something I want people to be mindful of.”