The Most Disrespected Person On Earth Is the Black Woman + Other Powerful Statements About the Breonna Taylor Grand Jury Decision From LeBron James, Colin Kaepernick & More

Sheena Butler-Young
·8 mins read

It was the non-indictment heard around the world.

It’s been roughly 24-hours since a grand jury failed to indict two former police officers — and handed down a head-scratching “wanton endangerment” charge for another — in the March 13 shooting death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans — including public figures and professional athletes in the NBA, WNBA and NFL — had spent months protesting for justice for Taylor, who lost her life in what was widely considered a botched raid by Louisville, Ky. police officers who were executing a so-called no-knock warrant.

In July, the WNBA, for example, dedicated its season to Taylor and the Say Her Name movement, which raises awareness for Black female victims of police violence. The league also collaborated with Black-and-brown-owned lifestyle brand Phenomenal in August to debut a “Justice For Breonna Taylor” T-shirt that has been worn by a bevy of high-profile celebrities, including Regina King, Neicy Nash, Olivia Wilde, Jessica Alba, Busy Phillipps, Nina Dobrev, Christina Milian, Sarah Paulson, Mandy Moore and Meagan Good.

With such an outpouring of support for Taylor and her family in the months that preceded yesterday’s grand jury decision, it’s no surprise that reactions and outrage were swift and reverberating. (Demonstrations in Louisville had turned violent overnight, with two police officers being shot during a protest. Authorities noted that a suspect is in custody and that the officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries.)

Here, we round up powerful quotes from several voices who were at the forefront of the justice for Breonna Taylor movement.

Colin Kaepernick, activist and former NFL player

“The white supremacist institution of policing that stole Breonna Taylor’s life from us must be abolished for the safety and well being of our people.”

LeBron James, NBA player, The Los Angeles Lakers

“The most DISRESPECTED person on earth is THE BLACK WOMAN! I promise you I’ll do my best to change this as much as I can and even more!! LOVE to you QUEENS all over this country and beyond!”

Jemele Hill, sports commentator, host of “Jemele Hill is Unbothered”

“The state of Kentucky deemed the lives of Breonna Taylor’s neighbors to be worth more than her own. Let that sink in.”

Kyrie Irving, NBA player, The Brooklyn Nets

“God we need you now more than ever. Please clear out all of the evils and sinister spirits that terrorize our beautiful world. … No one who stands with God can excuse the People/Organizations/Institutions (COPS] that senselessly continue to kill other human beings. … Is this really justice for all? The system is RIGGED.”

Sue Bird, WNBA player, Seattle Storm

“Disappointed & disgusted. My heart goes out to Ms Tamika Palmer & the rest of Breonna’s family #JusticeforBreonnaTalyor Please vote! Everyone!”

 

Dwyane Wade, former NBA player

“Dear Breonna, I’m so sorry the people in power have failed to get this right. You deserve so much more. Your life mattered. You deserved the bright future that was ahead of you. We will continue to say your name. We will continue to fight in your name. #BreonnaTaylor

Elaine Welteroth, author and former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue

“Breonna is not a meme, or a headline, or a hashtag…she was someone’s daughter, grand-baby, friend, and future fiancée. Her humanity is our humanity. Her justice is our justice. That’s why today’s rulings feel like a gut punch. And the collective trauma fatigue is only heightening by the day. To equate her murder with a petty crime exacerbates why #BlackLivesMatter is our rallying cry and why it will continue until the pain stops.”

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Breonna liked to write down her goals on sticky notes that she posted on the walls of her home. This was going to be HER year. Breonna had plans to buy a home, to get engaged, to have a baby, to get matching motorcycles with her mom. She had just bought herself a new car, a 2019 Dodge Charger (her mom says it was her baby). Breonna was an essential worker— she worked to sustain lives. She was an EMT and she worked in the ER. Her dream was to become a nurse. Breonna was an old soul (like me); she loved to sing the Blues with her grandma. Her mom called her the glue of their family: “She don’t care what is happening, she is going to make sure we get together and have a game night or have a cookout or have something.” Breonna is not a meme, or a headline, or a hashtag…she was someone’s daughter, grand-baby, friend, and future fiancée. Her humanity is our humanity. Her justice is our justice. That’s why today’s rulings feel like a gut punch. And the collective trauma fatigue is only heightening by the day. To equate her murder with a petty crime exacerbates why #BlackLivesMatter is our rallying cry and why it will continue until the pain stops. Action items to come soon. But today, I choose to celebrate Breonna—no matter what despair may say. I choose to lift up her humanity. To show her face and tell her story. Because even if it was hard to believe in better, with history as our teacher—she deserved so much better than this. #SayHerName #BreonnaTaylor

A post shared by Elaine Welteroth (@elainewelteroth) on Sep 23, 2020 at 4:15pm PDT

Kerry Washington, actress

“I understand the desire to not vote. To reject a system that abuses you & denies your worth. But please know that the system – DOES see your worth. It’s AFRAID of your power. That’s why it works so hard to make you feel powerless. You are NOT powerless. #SayHerName. And Vote!”

Reese Witherspoon, actress

Breonna Taylor was loved. She was a daughter and a sister. She was an essential worker. She was dedicated to helping others. 2.4mi people signed a petition for her justice. She deserved that justice. She was let down by our judicial system. Her family was let down. May her legacy motivate us to do more for necessary change. Remember Breonna when you VOTE this year.”

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