On March 13, 26-year-old
Breonna Taylor was killed in her home by the Louisville police. Three plain-clothed police officers used a battering ram to enter Taylor's apartment unannounced, with a "no-knock" warrant, looking for a suspected drug dealer in an ongoing narcotics investigation, according to CNN.
Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, 27, were sleeping when the police entered. Walker thought someone was breaking into their home and
shot one bullet out of self-defense, according to the Courier Journal. The police shot at least 22 rounds, hitting and killing Taylor with at least eight. The shots also flew into a neighbor's house, where a pregnant mother and her 5-year-old were asleep.
Upon further investigation, the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) discovered that the suspected drug dealer didn't live at Taylor's apartment and was
already in police custody at the time of Taylor's death.
Taylor's death is one of
many unjust killings of Black people by the police, among them, more recently, George Floyd, 46, and Tony McDade, 38. Taylor was an essential health care worker, working at the front lines of local hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. She was an award-winning emergency medical technician, and she hoped to one day become a nurse. Taylor's birthday is June 5, and this year, she would have turned 27. Cate Young, a freelance writer, created the #BirthdayForBreonna campaign to use Taylor's upcoming birthday as an opportunity to inspire people to honor Taylor and fight for the justice she deserves.
"Too often, the
Black women who are victims of police brutality take a backseat to the men who suffer the same," Young tells Bustle. "It stung that her death was not seen as critical enough for people to take to the streets, and coverage of the protests has not named her."
Young, with the help of activists Victoria Wilson, Jane Shin, Jill Cartwright, Zosha Millman, and artists
Ariel Sinha and Ayla Sydney organized #BirthdayForBreonna, a series of tangible actions and virtual protests to honor Breonna Taylor, and amplify the stories of Black women killed by police.
Here are seven ways to get involved — on June 5 and always.
Send A Birthday Card In Her Honor
Email The Administration
In addition to a letter, you can send an email to the Kentucky attorney general, the mayor, and the governor demanding accountability for Taylor's death. The
link on the #BirthdayForBreonna page will open your mail app with the email addresses already filled in and a pre-written email of what to say.
Donate To Her Family's GoFundMe & The Louisville Community Bail Fund
GoFundMe will wire money directly to Breonna's family, who have been working hard to seek justice for Breonna, and the Louisville Community Bail Fund helps support the people who have been on the front lines of protests for Taylor in Louisville.
You can also call the offices of Governor Beshear, District Attorney Wine, Attorney General Cameron, Senator Paul, as well as Representative John Yarmuth, and the Kentucky Senators General Hotline. All their
numbers are listed here, as well as a script of what you can say.
Attend The Virtual Protest
On June 5, at 3 p.m. EST, the organizers of the petition have organized a
virtual protest hosted on Twitter. You can join in by using #JusticeForBreonna and tagging @GovAndyBeshear, @djaycameron, @danielcameronag, @repjohnyarmuth, @RandPaul, and @senatemajldr.
In your tweet, you can demand the officers involved in the killing of Taylor are arrested and that a special prosecutor is appointed for the immediate investigation into the Louisville police department. You can find a
formal script here.
In addition to the Twitter protest, for the entire day of June 5 (and frankly every other day), you can be involved by using the hashtags
#SayHerName and #BirthdayForBreonna. Young encourages people to make their own art, poetry, music, or other meaningful creative works to show that Taylor will not be forgotten. This initiative is for all social media platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
If you aren't sharing original artwork, there are
images you can download for free. To credit the artists, tag @arielsinhaha and @nemesomi. You can also share the #BirthdayForBreonna page, and encourage your friends and family to be involved.