LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The coronavirus crisis pushed the Kentucky Derby to September, but the recent death of Breonna Taylor and the events that have followed also are making an impact.
Her family’s supporters say the LMPD officers and the judge who approved their narcotics warrant still have not been held accountable for her death, and therefore it is not time for the city to celebrate.
Supporters say the city’s largest celebration, the Kentucky Derby, would be a slap in the face to those like Taylor who have suffered injustices. So, Brittany Wiley and Elysia Bowman decided that something had to be done.
It started with a hashtag and a flier urging Louisvillians to “Boycott Derby.” They said they’re still grieving, adding that the city should not be moving forward as if nothing has happened. They’re not letting the situation pass until Taylor gets justice, and the city and state listen to the people.
”We need systematic change.” Wiley said. “Thank you for taking the statues down. Thank you for the scholarships. Thank you for all the Breonna tributes. We appreciate it. We love it, but we need change for my (family), our kids and our future.”
Taylor’s best friend said this is not the time for the city to be sipping on mint juleps, getting dressed up in hats and showing off new outfits. People around the world have stood up for her friend, but Bowman said the city, police and politicians continue disrespecting Taylor’s life.
”Since Breonna’s death, other things have taken it farther in Louisville Kentucky,” Bowman said. “Since Breonna’s death, David McAtee has been killed. That was ironic. What about him? Since then, Tyler (Gerth) was killed. That blows my mind, because that doesn’t (make) sense. Someone could fire in a crowd of peaceful protests for Breonna Taylor, and someone gets killed. Where were the police then?”
The women said there are two pandemics going on in Louisville -- COVID-19 and racial injustice. Racism is attacking human rights, they said, and because of that, they want to be able to hear crickets and for the city to sit in silence on Derby weekend.
The Kentucky Derby Festival issued a statement in June about its support of the Black Lives Matter movement:
“The Kentucky Derby Festival stands against systemic racism. We support the Black community. We support equity, justice, and inclusion. We are listening. We commit to work with our staff, board, volunteers, sponsors, and partners to be part of the solution. TOGETHER, We will continue to engage leaders in the Black community and all of our partners, to seek guidance to ensure diversity throughout our organization, events and programming, and help in the effort to unite our city. We are BETTER TOGETHER. #BLACKLIVESMATTER”
WAVE 3 News reached out to Churchill Downs for a response about the proposed boycott, but has not heard back.