One year ago today, Breonna Taylor was murdered by Louisville police officers who sprayed her home with bullets while she lay in bed asleep.
She was murdered in the same place where she manifested the dreams she was working so hard to turn into her reality. But all of those dreams were violently stolen from her the night she was killed. She wanted to buy a home. She had already chosen the name of the daughter she dreamed of having. Breonna’s life was violently stolen from her—a crime for which even a single police officer has yet to be held accountable.
Justice for Breonna doesn’t only mean accountability in the eyes of the law. Breonna deserved to live a long life full of love, and she deserved the right to create the family that she wanted and raise her children in a world where they could grow up without having to be afraid of violence and harm at the hands of police. Breonna deserved reproductive justice.
I was only 12-years-old when I first experienced excessive force by police officers, who pepper-sprayed me, my sister and my cousin on the front porch of our home while a confrontation was taking place nearby. We were just young girls, and we had nothing to do with what was happening, yet at that moment we were seen as threats that could only be handled with more violence.
This form of harm, which is perpetuated by police officers and internalized by generations of Black women and little girls, is a racial justice and reproductive justice issue. When Black women experience violent interactions with law enforcement, those experiences rob us of our personal and bodily autonomy, and they take away our ability to lead safe, healthy and self-determined lives, including the ability of children to be just that—children—as well as our adult choices to have children, not to have children, or be able to raise the families we have in safe spaces that allow them to learn, grow and thrive without fear.
True justice for Breonna means listening to Black women, trusting Black women and recognizing the leadership of Black women and organizers who have been on the frontlines of the movement to create safe and sustainable communities in a world that honors, protects and respects Black lives.
Monica Simpson is the Executive Director of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.