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Breonna Taylor’s Spirit Lives in New Breed of Young Leaders By Cassiette West-Williams

LaTasha Williams is loud, emotional and bold in her presentation. She is convinced that change is coming during her lifetime, as she prepared to march in Breonna Taylor’s name in Chicago’s Anti-Violence march on October 7th.

Breonna Taylor

The South Side march included young women leaders, holding posters of Breonna Taylor, Harriet Tubman, Oprah Winfrey and author Zora Neale Hurston, as the headliners for the event. The activist mixed leaders from the past with current symbols of women they hold in high esteem. Taylor struck a chord in most of the participants, who felt that her life resonated with them.

 “We are not going to take this brutality anymore! How long do we have to wait for justice? We are tired of waiting. Change must come now,” said the young warrior, who was still angry over the Taylor murder. “She did not deserve to die like that,” she said.

The group of almost 100 volunteers started at Roberts Temple Church of God Church because this was the same location that Emmett Till’s funeral was held more than 65 years ago. The ladies, children and men prayed along the rest stops and advocated that Taylor’s life be held in high esteem.

Taylor, 26, was murdered by a group of the Louisville Metro Police Department m (LMPD) on March 13, 2020, as they forced themselves into her apartment, as she lay sleeping with her boyfriend. Taylor was an Emergency Room technician for the University of Louisville Health Center.

“Breonna Taylor could have been me. You understand…She had planned to be a nurse and had a future ahead of her.  Some of these officers act like they can control your life. They act like they are God. She was a woman who could still make a difference in the world,” said Williams.

The plainclothes officers said they announced themselves first, but there are conflicting details about that statement. Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, shot a warning shot, thinking they were intruders and Taylor received six shots in the bed.  The New York Times interviewed a dozen neighbors, who said they did not hear anyone knock on the door or announce themselves. According to the NYT, only one neighbor said that he heard the police knock, but then he changed his story. None of the officers were wearing body cameras.

Miss Taylor’s funeral was held on March 21st, where the family asked for peace.

The officer was charged with three counts of “wanton endangerment” for injuring a neighbor in his leg.

Last month Breonna’s mother and family received a $12 million dollar settlement from the city of Louisville. Williams said, “Money cannot replace her life. She was somebody.” 

Only one officer was fired and none were charged with Taylor’s murder, which led to riots and violence in many cities. Williams, who did not participate in the civil unrest in Chicago, looked forward to marching because she wanted to show a different image of Black youth.

Women led the charge and wore masks. The movement to keep racial justice events alive in the state will continue, Williams said.