On Wednesday reproductive rights activists unveiled a mobile billboard in front of the Louisville Metro Police Department’s headquarters, honoring Breonna Taylor ahead of the one-year anniversary of her death.
The billboard is imposed with a tweet from Taylor where she shared her hopes of one day having a child. “My daughter hasn’t even been conceived but she has a name already lol…that’s how ready I am,” she tweeted in 2018.
The effort was coordinated by reproductive justice organizations SisterSong and Reproductive Justice (RJ) For Black Lives, as well as the Black Lives Matter Louisville chapter. Members of the organizations discussed the importance of highlighting the adverse effects of police brutality during a Facebook Live discussion on Wednesday, concentrating on the role police violence plays in eliminating the dreams of Black communities when they are routinely targeted and subjugated.
“What happened to Breonna Taylor was also a reproductive injustice,” said Monica Simpson, executive director of SisterSong in a statement sent to NewsOne. “She put out to the world that she wanted to be a parent. She wanted to be able to create a family, and that was stolen from her because of police brutality.”
“Not only did Breonna have the opportunity to birth life taken away from her when her life was taken from her, but the children around her and the younger people that she helped care for lost a mother-like figure, and that can’t be replaced no matter how much money is handed out,” said Sarah Williams, a Black Lives Matter leader in Lexington, Kentucky. “And even if we get some semblance of justice—which we have yet to see—that does not replace Breonna’s life.”
Taylor’s family awaits the findings of a federal investigation, but state level efforts to obtain justice stalled once Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron opted out of pressing charges related to Taylor’s murder. Only one officer, Brett Hankison was charged in connection with Taylor’s murder on March 13. Hankison faces three charges of wanton endangerment for firing into an apartment neighboring Taylor’s. After the charges were announced in September, Hankison plead not guilty. Around the same time Taylor’s family was awarded a $12M settlement, marking the largest civil settlement in history.
Activists also demand that law enforcement and city leaders who held high-ranking positions at the time of Taylor’s death resign.
“We are demanding the resignation of Erika Shields; Mayor Fischer for failing leadership of the city for many years; and also Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine, who continues to ignore and jeopardize the lives of Black women in this city,” said Chanelle Helm, a State Consultant for SisterSong and Strategic Core Co-Organizer for Black Lives Matter Louisville. “It really hits home to know that this is a reproductive injustice. This woman looked forward to creating a family. We can’t even provide justice for her. So this is paying homage to her.”
The billboard was unveiled as part of a week of action leading up to Taylor’s death anniversary on March 13. Community members will be able to interact with the billboard as it travels through Louisville throughout the weekend.