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Celebrities, Grassroots Activists, National Racial Justice Advocates Demand Justice for Breonna Taylor and Issue Call to Action to Communities Nationwide

WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, June 9, a coalition of celebrities, grassroots organizers and national racial justice groups hosted a virtual town hall calling attention to the unjust killing of Breonna Taylor and the need for systemic reform of the nation’s legal system. The #SayHerName: National Town Hall for Breonna Taylor, co-hosted by Advancement Project National Office, the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), Black Lives Matter – Louisville, Black Womxn and The Root, detailed why Louisville Metro Police Department police should be charged for entering Breonna Taylor’s home with an illegal warrant and killing her while she was sleeping in her bed. The coalition demanded action and compelled the 1,000 participants to take action.

“We have seen the erasure of Black women in the narrative on police violence,” said Leslie Mac, leader with BlackWomxnFor. “Black women are raped and beat by police, yet we rarely are the focus of these discussions. It is time that all people impacted by police violence are centered. When Black women are excluded from these conversations, it gives permission for the media and advocates to do the same. #SayHerName calls us all to widen the scope of our work and ensure that all police violence is brought to light. Just for Breonna Taylor is justice for us all.”

Family of Breonna Taylor, organizers from Black Lives Matters-Louisville and celebrities expressed their love for Breonna. “Your Blackness made you disposable, but we know Black women are always essential,” said Tracee Ellis Ross, actor and prominent Black Lives Matter influencer. “We slay for you, Breonna Taylor.”

Advocates also iterated their demands for systemic change.

“We must defund the police and invest these resources into the communities most impacted by policing and the criminal legal system. Investments in high-quality education, job training, affordable housing, and free, quality systems of care will ensure that communities thrive and are free and safe,” said Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project National Office. “We also must end no-knock warrants that allow militarized police teams to invade private homes without identification or notice. We must end qualified immunity, which protects police from civil rights lawsuits and create Black and Brown communities and truly free and safe.

Advocates directed pointed questions to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer on why officers responsible for Taylor’s death had yet to be arrested. Fischer’s explanation of contractual and legal limitations to this authority was unsatisfactory to organizers and Taylor’s family.

The town hall comes as Advancement Project National Office advances a national campaign on police-free schools with a national network of youth and community organizations launched in 2018. The organization also released a set of demands and a petition to demand police divestment.

The National Town Hall for Breonna Taylor was streamed immediately ahead of Oprah Winfrey’s two-day town hall on race, “Where do we go from here,” featuring Black thought leaders.

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