Allow Me to Introduce Myself: Some Thoughts on Breonna Taylor
It’s always fascinating introducing yourself to an audience that might be unfamiliar with your writing or who you are in general. Still, when Susanna asked me if I was interested in blogging for A Perfect Shirt, I jumped at the opportunity.
Writing is an activity that I have enjoyed for years, and while I do not nearly as much as I did in years past, I felt that Susanna’s vision of these posts was in line with what’s most prevalent in my life right now: everything and all things about Black culture.
While I don’t know who will consume this content, what your sensibilities are, or what your lived experiences are, I assume you are interested in Black culture and, hopefully, various perspectives on the culture at large. Here’s a little about me: socially, I’m a husband, brother, son, uncle, cousin, nephew, and friend. I’m a Black man that loves God and my community, a Black man who fully believes that the liberation of Black folks in America is directly in line with God’s will for Black people. Despite this belief, it can be hard to understand God’s will for the Black community, especially in the midst of a chaotic and often hard to comprehend world.
Speaking of the hard to comprehend, I am reminded of Breonna Taylor, the young Black woman in Louisville that was gunned down by a Louisville Metropolitan Police Department officer serving a no-knock warrant at her home. Taylor’s home contained no illicit drugs that LMPD requested a warrant from Jefferson County District Judge Mary Shaw to find. Just a few days ago, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that no indictments were found by a grand jury regarding the killing of Taylor. However, an officer was only indicted on wanton endangerment for firing into neighboring houses.
Breonna Taylor should still be with us. She should be continuing her work as a certified EMT. The no-knock warrant that LMPD carried out that day should not have been issued, as the information they had about Taylor’s home and her association with her boyfriend was not concrete enough for such a warrant to be executed. Justice for Breonna should have included accountability under the law toward the officers that responded to the erroneous no-knock warrant, which could have included filing second-degree manslaughter charges and seeing how that would play out before the grand jury. Although it can be argued that law as it currently stands does not provide much in the form of justice for Taylor, this is simply NOT good enough. An innocent Black woman was killed in her home for committing no crime, and the killers not being held accountable is reprehensible.
The question many have now is this: what now? Here’s one suggestion: alert your local, state, and national legislators know that qualified immunity, impunity, and any law enforcement bill of rights be repealed. This includes voting for individuals who favor ending these practices that often prevent law enforcement accountability from being obtained.
I will close with the words of the brilliant Kimberlé Crenshaw: “If we thought the problem and the solution to the tragedy of Breonna Taylor was simply prosecuting these cops, then we’re not understanding the broader systemic conditions that allow for the kind of policing that disproportionately imperils Black Americans.”
Buckle up, readers. We must work toward ensuring that the ills of systemic racism and marginalization do not persist. Hopefully, this and my resulting posts will provide you with helpful motivation and perspective toward engaging in the “good trouble” promoted by the late Congressman John Lewis.
Derek Bowe, Jr.
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