WBUR News WBUR News

Support the news

Boston Vigil Honors Breonna Taylor On Her 27th Birthday And Calls For Police Reforms

Hundreds of protesters participated in a vigil celebrating what would have been the 27th birthday of Breonna Taylor. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Hundreds of protesters participated in a vigil celebrating what would have been the 27th birthday of Breonna Taylor. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Several hundred protesters filled a park across the street from the Boston Police station near Nubian Square, raising the name of Breonna Taylor, the Louisville, Kentucky, EMT killed in her own home, on what would have been her 27th birthday.

Protest organizer Sam Grady of the youth empowerment group I Have A Future read read a poem she dedicated to Taylor.

“Now my name is added to a list of hashtags buried underground,” Grady read. "When you say her name, don’t forget to speak: justice for black women, overlooked like me. Black women matter!”

Protesters held up their cellphones, flashlights illuminated, at a vigil for Breonna Taylor. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Protesters held up their cellphones, flashlights illuminated, at a vigil for Breonna Taylor. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Taylor was killed in March by police in Louisville after they executed a so-called no-knock search warrant — something protesters say they want abolished, among other reforms. Police say Taylor’s partner fired a gun at police — possibly mistaking police for intruders — and police shot back, killing Taylor.

No charges have been filed in the Taylor case, though it is being investigated by the FBI.

While the protest took place across from the B-2 police station, speakers largely took aim at departments in other parts of the country. But protester Aysha Upchurch says that while Boston may be more progressive than other places, police here don’t get a pass on the need to reform their practices in places like Roxbury.

“Boston may have progressed in some areas but it should never recuse itself from being part of the systemic, endemic racism," Upchurch said. "No state opts out of colonialism and its residue."

Community organizer Keturah Brewster speaks to the hundreds that gathered in Nubian Square to mark the birthday of Breonna Taylor. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Community organizer Keturah Brewster speaks to the hundreds that gathered in Nubian Square to mark the birthday of Breonna Taylor. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Boston Police in recent days have expressed solidarity with the tenets of Black Lives Matter, and tried to uphold the department as a national leader in community policing. Commissioner William Gross this week told reporters that Boston’s police academy brings in local peace groups and other community organizations.

"LBGTQ, formerly incarcerated — and for God's sakes, remember the voice of the youth. We can't talk over them, for them, and about them. They need to be at the table," he said.

Protesters say they want to see those ideals better reflected in the way the BPD is policing the protests.

A sign at a vigil in Boston marking the birthday of Breonna Taylor. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
A sign at a vigil in Boston marking the birthday of Breonna Taylor. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Related:

Simón Rios Twitter Reporter
Simón Ríos is an award-winning bilingual reporter in WBUR's newsroom.

More…

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news