Today, June 5, is Breonna Taylor's birthday. She should have turned 27.
Nearly three months after Louisville, Kentucky, police shot and killed Taylor in her home during a botched attempt to serve a "no-knock" warrant related to a drug investigation of an entirely different person, activists and allies are using her birthday to rally support for a series of criminal justice reforms intended to make sure what happened to Taylor doesn't happen to anyone else.
Spearheaded in part by writer Cate Young, the campaign to recognize Taylor's life and demand accountability for her death includes a number of concrete steps to not only raise awareness of Taylor's story, but to pressure Kentucky officials to file charges against the officers responsible for shooting Taylor in her home. To date, the three officers involved have been reassigned, but not dismissed or arrested, and the state has opened an investigation into their actions. The FBI has also launched its own investigation into Taylor's death. No charges have been filed.
In a particularly affecting part of the expansive efforts to push for justice for Taylor — which also includes a Change.org petition signed by over 4 million people, as well as a crowdfunding campaign for her family that has raised more than $3 million — activists are also sending birthday cards for Taylor to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, demanding he press charges against the officers involved.
Already a number of high-profile notables have come out to lend their considerable clout to Taylor's cause, including Kim Kardashian West, Charlize Theron, and Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter, civil rights activist Bernice King.
Mourners and activists have also begun combing through Taylor's social media profiles, surfacing heartbreaking accounts to highlight just what her friends, family, and community have lost.
"Working in health care is so rewarding," Taylor, an EMT, wrote in one Facebook post last year. "It makes me feel so happy when I know I've made a difference in someone else's life."
In a tweet sent in February, Taylor mused about what life would have been like had she not moved to Kentucky.
In another tweet posted a few months before that, she simply predicted that 2020 would be "my year."
In an interview with Distractify, Young explicitly tied her efforts to commemorate Taylor and demand justice for her death with the ongoing protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
"I had just been feeling kind of frustrated with how quickly Breonna’s name had fallen out of the news cycle,” Young explained “I think with the protests that have been happening in George Floyd’s name, it kind of got really easy and convenient to forget her."
"But," Young continued, "having been paying attention to the news for the last seven or eight years, I’ve seen this kind of thing happen over and over again, where we enter these periods of increased attention to police brutality against Black people, Black women are among that number, and those Black women’s names just stop coming up in stories."
"I want justice for her," Breonna's mother told The Washington Post in late May. "I want them to say her name."