Cases like Breonna Taylor's highlight Black women are 'not safe anywhere,' #SayHerName campaign founder says

Protests for Breonna Taylor have helped push for reforms in Louisville, Kentucky, including an end to "no-knock" warrants, stricter body-cam rules, and a multi-million dollar settlement awarded to Taylor's family.

Posted: Sep 25, 2020 5:21 AM
Updated: Sep 25, 2020 5:21 AM

Breonna Taylor's name echoed in the streets of US cities for months after she was fatally shot by Louisville police in her apartment.

But despite massive protests and repeated calls to arrest the officers involved, no one was held accountable for her killing.

"This is one of the continuing, long-standing dimensions of being a Black woman in this society," says Kimberle Crenshaw, the executive director of the African American Policy Forum and founder of the #SayHerName campaign.

"You're not safe anywhere. Not even safe in your own home," she told CNN's Erin Burnett Thursday.

The Kentucky Attorney General announced this week of the three officers involved, one was indicted on first-degree wanton endangerment charges -- a charge applying to the risk put on Taylor's neighbors. It does not hold the officer accountable for Taylor's death.

"What we're looking at now is the fact that even though this most egregious loss of an innocent life happened, there's no allegation that she did everything to deserve this, that at the end of the day the system could come to the conclusion that no harm, no legal harm, no moral harm has happened," Crenshaw said Thursday.

That's why Crenshaw says the #SayHerName campaign was founded.

"Hopefully people can see the problem is much deeper than a few bad apples."

'All Black lives matter'

The #SayHerName campaign, launched in 2014, serves to raise awareness and support the families of the Black women and girls who fall victim to police brutality -- and who are often overlooked and forgotten.

"#SayHerName is grounded in the sad reality that Black women and girls who are targeted, brutalized, and killed by police are all too often excluded from mainstream narratives around police violence," the campaign's web page says.

"Including Black women and girls in police violence and gender violence discourses sends the powerful message that indeed all Black lives matter," it says.

The campaign has worked to highlight the cases of dozens of Black women, including Atatiana Jefferson and Michelle Cusseaux, both killed by police in their home.

"We're still in a period of time where we have to make people see that Black women are also the subject of anti-Black police violence," Crenshaw said. "It's one of the most consistent aspects of our experience across history."

'195 days' since Taylor was killed

Despite the announcement from Kentucky's top attorney, many are determined to keep Taylor's name alive and continue to demand justice -- among them, WNBA players and NBA legend LeBron James.

"The most DISRESPECTED person on earth is THE BLACK WOMAN," James tweeted earlier this week. "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!"

On Thursday, Napheesa Collier of the Minnesota Lynx read a statement on behalf of WNBA players regarding the decision reached in Taylor's case.

"Our hearts are with Ms. Tamika Palmer," the statement said. "It has been 195 days since her daughter Breonna Taylor was killed. One hundred and ninety-five days and still today no one was charged for her death."

The players called the result "outrageous and offensive."

"We won't stop pressing for full transparency and full and complete justice. There are far too many questions left unanswered," the statement said, noting at the end "justice is on the ballot."

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