By Keisha N. Blain, June 12, 2020, The Conversation.
Just after midnight on March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor, an EMT in Louisville, Kentucky, was shot and killed by police officers who raided her home.
The officers had entered her home without warning as part of a drug raid. The suspect they were seeking was not a resident of the home – and no drugs were ever found.
But when they came through the door unexpectedly, and in plain clothes, police officers were met with gunfire from Taylor’s boyfriend, who was startled by the presence of intruders. In only a matter of minutes, Taylor was dead – shot eight times by police officers.
Although the majority of black people killed by police in the United States are young men, black women and girls are also vulnerable to state-sanctioned violence. The #SayHerName campaign has worked to bring greater awareness to this issue.
Despite the fear of reprisals, Hamer told this story often. In 1964, at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, she recounted her story before a live, televised audience of millions.
In doing so, Hamer brought attention to the problem of police violence. Her efforts would pave the way for many other black women activists who boldly confronted police violence and brutality by telling their stories – and the stories of their loved ones.