SAY HER NAME
Welcome to the Black Students United column. This is one of many ways we will take up space on campus, and in our community. We will continue to take up space as long as we are forced to live in a world where racism, colonialism, imperialism, transphobia, queer antagonism, and other modes of oppression threaten us. We take up space to resist the notion that we must suffer in silence. We take up space to affirm ourselves, and support each other. Too often, we are expected to accept ongoing acts of psychological, emotional, and physical violence as normal unending aspects of daily life and taking up space is one small way of saying no more. Given the events of this week, we take up space to honor Breonna Taylor.
SAY HER NAME
Breonna Taylor was 26 years old, engaged, and an EMT. Breonna Taylor had friends, and family members, but most importantly she was a person. A living being. A person with goals, dreams, feelings, and purpose. On March 13, 2020 three officers of the Louisville police department took her life during an unannounced raid on her home. As of September 23, 2020 one officer has been indicted for wanton endangerment. Essentially, one officer has been indicted for missing her body when firing his weapon. The announcement of these charges refueled the ongoing national protest against the violence of policing, and in Louisville tensions have reached an all time high with the deployment of the national guard. The unnecessary use of force seemed so undeniable in this case, yet our legal system has failed to produce ethical and just results. One recurring question in cases of police murder is “how can we stop this? Will we ever get justice?”
I do not equate justice with charges and imprisonment, justice looks like Breonna Taylor being alive. However, terminating and charging these officers should be the bare minimum, but the bar is in Hell. This showcases a basic truth so many non-Black people fail to understand: a state built on enslavement and genocide will never produce equality, equity, or justice. This is not intended to be hyperbolic, or pessimistic. Police forces were initially designed to capture enslaved Black people, and maintain the displacement of Indigenous people. When we work towards alternative modes to produce justice, we will see the prevention of Black death not just responses to these cases. In the meantime, we continue to honor her and countless others by resisting, and taking up space.