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Anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s death marked with events, rallies

One year later, Breonna Taylor’s death and name continue to drive calls for change in relation to policing, systemic racism and a host of other issues impacting the country.

One Year Anniversary Of The Killing Of Breonna Taylor Marked By Protests
A portrait of Breonna Taylor is seen in front of another protest sign during a protest memorial for her in Jefferson Square Park on March 13, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. 
Jon Cherry/Getty Images

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her home by police officers who broke down her door to serve a search warrant.

One year later, her death and her name continue to drive calls for change in relation to policing, systemic racism and a host of other issues impacting residents of Louisville, Kentucky, and countless other cities.

Events and rallies were scheduled this weekend in major U.S. cities — including New York, Washington and Atlanta — in honor of the 26-year-old Black woman.

President Joe Biden called Taylor’s death a “tragedy” and “a blow to her family, her community, and America” in a tweet posted Saturday afternoon.

“As we continue to mourn her, we must press ahead to pass meaningful police reform in Congress,” he added in the tweet.

In Louisville, hundreds gathered before 1 p.m. Saturday in Jefferson Square Park for the “Justice for Breonna Taylor” rally and march.

Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, and other family members led the rally

Joining them were speakers, community organizers and family members of other Americans killed by police, including relatives of Sean Monterrosa, a 22-year-old Latino American who was fatally shot by a police officer in Vallejo, California, in June. Daughters of Danny Ray Thomas, a Black man who was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy in Houston in 2018, were also in attendance.

“This is about justice,” said Sadiqa Reynolds, CEO of Louisville Urban League. “This is about our power to change this world for our children, for my daughter. This is so we make sure that not another person dies at the hands of the police.”

Later Saturday afternoon, the Breonna Taylor Foundation was set to sponsor a meal distribution program in the park, and a pop-up mall honoring Black businesses will commemorate Taylor.

One Year Anniversary Of The Killing Of Breonna Taylor Marked By Protests
A protest organizer raises his fist toward the crowd during a Breonna Taylor memorial protest in Jefferson Square Park on March 13, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Jon Cherry/Getty Images

The weekend events in honor of Taylor will conclude Sunday with “The People’s Empowerment Brunch,” which will feature numerous speakers.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear released a statement Saturday morning on the one-year anniversary of Taylor’s death.

“Today we remember Breonna Taylor, her tragic and unnecessary loss and the immense work we have ahead of us,” Beshear said. “I will never understand the unimaginable grief of Tamika Palmer and other family and loved ones, but I am committed to listening and working with others to build a more equitable and fair commonwealth for every Kentuckian.”

The FBI’s Louisville field office also put out a statement Saturday morning, saying it is “actively investigating all aspects of her death and will continue to work diligently until this investigation is completed.”

Jefferson Square Park, which saw a series of protests last summer following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, will likely get a marker installed this spring, according to a news release from Mayor Greg Fischer’s office.

The front of the marker will mention the “2020 Racial Justice Protests” and include the following message:

“Built in 1978, Jefferson Square Park memorializes first responders killed in the line of duty. In 2020, it became a rallying place for those demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, a Black woman tragically killed by Louisville Metro Police serving a search warrant. Protesters called this space ‘Injustice Square Park’ and held demonstrations that drew global attention.”

Vincent James, the city’s chief of Community Building, said the marker “will be a permanent reminder of the challenges we face, as a city and a nation, and the work we’re doing to move our city from tragedy to transformation.”

Next week, the city said it will also “work with the families to remove and store memorial items left in the park.”

One Year Anniversary Of The Killing Of Breonna Taylor Marked By Protests
A child with a “BREEWAYY” sign displays it for the crowd in Jefferson Square Park on March 13, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Jon Cherry/Getty Images