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Community activists push for more changes one year after Breonna Taylor’s death

Updated: Mar. 13, 2021 at 12:04 AM EST
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The approaching anniversary of Breonna Taylor's death has forced many in Louisville to think...
The approaching anniversary of Breonna Taylor's death has forced many in Louisville to think about where the city has come in the 12 months since her death.(Courtesy: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Community activists and family and friends of Breonna Taylor prepare to remember her Saturday, one year after she was killed by LMPD officers during a raid.

Since her death, hundreds of protests have occurred with thousands of people walking the streets of Louisville calling for justice.

Tyra Walker, co-chair of the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression, said Saturday will be a peaceful protest.

“It’s to memorialize Breonna Taylor,” Walker said. “It’s all about peace and giving back to the community.”

Over the past year, there have been a number of changes, specifically to policies within LMPD and Metro Government. On June 12, less than a month after protests started, Mayor Greg Fischer signed Breonna’s Law, banning no-knock warrants in Louisville. The city also later established a civilian review board, which 11 people were nominated to be on.

On Sept. 15, the city settled a lawsuit with Breonna Taylor’s family for $12 million, which also included police reforms.

“Yes we have had some wins and I always state it like we’re asking for a mile but we have a couple of inches,” Tyra Walker said.

She said she would like to see more, including holding all of the officers involved in the case accountable. She also said she would like to see more policies in place that would “positively impact people of color as well as poor people.”

“It’s time to get people in office that is going to listen to their constituents and is going to make the change that’s going to impact everyone positively,” Walker said.

Walker added that she would like to see policies relating to fixing systemic racism in the Commonwealth.

“There are policies they can put into place that will fight systemic racism, that will make it equitable for everyone in the state of Kentucky,” she said.

Walker grew up in West Louisville in the 70s and 80s and has fond memories of her childhood.

“It was up and coming. People had jobs,” she said. “I mean it was a prosperous neighborhood. We had a Broadway Roller Rink. There were resources for children to keep us out from doing things we shouldn’t be doing, because an idle mind is a devil’s playground.”

She said she believes one of the next steps that needs to happen to turn things around is to put more money back into West Louisville.

“Put money back into the neighborhood,” she said. “Put programs back into the West End. Let’s do that and then change will come.”

Community activist Savion Briggs, who is currently a student at Kentucky State University, said he agrees there need to be changes to help West Louisville.

“In West Louisville, there should be way more Black-owned businesses, way more Black homeowners,” he said. “If this is a Black community where a majority of the Black population resides, we should own more buildings. We should own more houses.”

Briggs said he plans to set himself up to give back to the West Louisville community he grew up in, hoping others will do the same.

“I’m going to get into buying houses, buying land in general so I can create that concept of Black Wall Street in Louisville again, or just to bring Black business owners and give people opportunity,” he explained. “College is not for everyone. Some people want to be nail techs, some people want to just cut hair. Everyone has something they want to do and I want to be able and be in a place to give back and help everyone get to that level in creating this love and this generational wealth in the Black community.”

From a Louisville government perspective, Metro Council President David James said he believes there are many things that still need to change.

“Many things that need to be addressed ranging from housing to poverty to law enforcement to equity inclusion, as it relates to Metro government and how it does its contracts,” James said. “All of those things are things we all need to look at to make sure we all include everybody and treat everybody equally and fairly in our community.”

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