“The system as a whole has failed her.” These were the words of Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor’s mother, after last week’s grand jury findings and the Kentucky Attorney General’s decision not to charge any of the Louisville police officers for fatally shooting Breonna in her home in March after barging in on a no-knock warrant. Only one officer was charged for wanton endangerment of Breonna Taylor’s neighbors—not for killing her.
On Monday, September 28, following community protests, petitions and a court order, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron finally agreed to publicly release the grand jury transcript; but we know that this is nowhere near enough to make up for a wanton lack of justice, especially considering that Breonna’s name was completely absent from the indictment record in the first place.
In light of these infuriating but predictable failures of the justice system, we pledge continued support for Breonna Taylor’s family and those who organize, protest, and demand justice for her every day, especially those community leaders and members carrying on this critical work in Louisville.
Here are some ways that you can support them:
Support the family of Breonna Taylor
Donate to the Justice for Breonna Taylor Fund
Bail Fund for Louisville Protestors
Louisville Community Bail Fund
We must also press on in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives and keep working to transform the system that Tamika Palmer rightly concludes failed Breonna Taylor and too many like her.
The killing or murder of unarmed Black people by the police or civilian assailants continues invariably, with nothing in response that resembles accountability or justice to most Black people, other people of color, and others most affected by this broken system.
We are still in that national and global “moment” (preceded by centuries-long movements) sparked by the brutal police murder of George Floyd and followed by the Black-led and remarkably diverse mass protests that led more people than ever, including those usually not affected by police brutality, to finally see, question, and protest against the broken system.
We know that the kind of deep and transformative changes that must happen and that the Equal Justice Society supports is not easy. But we cannot let difficulties, setbacks, distortions, mislabeling, detractors, villifiers or incrementalists deter us. These challenges and barriers are and always have been present in movements for fundamental change.
The presence of challenges does not change the fact that more people than ever before have now witnessed and believe that so many issues or incidents that arise in a community do not warrant the armed police response that has become so normalized, and that the bloated police budgets currently in place in too many of our cities simply make no sense in light of this truth. They do not change the fact that reasonable people—that is, most of us—want to feel safe in our homes and communities, but not at the price of an unarmed loved one, neighbor, or even a stranger being shot and killed or seriously harmed.
The broken system disproportionately harms and kills so many—Black, Latinx and Native people, transgender people and people with disabilities. Most of us have at least one family member, friend, or someone we care about who belongs to one of these groups or another group historically harmed or unprotected by the current system.
These truths weigh all the more heavily when we consider that those who protest in support of justice and safety and against police brutality are regularly arrested and charged for assembling. We have seen hundreds and hundreds of protestors arrested over these past several months, while too many who commit murder in police uniform walk free.
One of the protesters arrested in Louisville, Kentucky on September 25 was State Representative Attica Scott, the Kentucky lawmaker who authored “Breonna’s Law,” a bill to end no-knock warrants in the state of Kentucky.
This is why EJS will keep supporting and amplifying the work of community groups and public leaders toward concrete and meaningful transformative change like the Oakland Anti Police Terror Project and California Assemblymember Kalmlager-Dove, author of AB 2054 a bill that would fund alternatives to police intervention that we urge Governor Newsom to sign into law by tomorrow’s deadline.
We know that we are in the midst of multiple monumental crises and many of us are fighting on many fronts. But we owe it to Breonna Taylor and the countless others who have been tragically lost and denied justice to press on in the fight for a system and future that will bring honor to their memory.