We Say Her Name (Part 4): Breonna Taylor-“I Am She, She Are We.”

The cover of September's edition of the Oprah Magazine, featuring a photo of Breonna Taylor
This quote is my own and was taken from a poem I wrote called ‘First, Awakenings.‘ Find that poem on I Breathe Fire (http://jenniferharrisbreathesfire.com)

It has been 5 months and 12 days since Breonna has been gone from the world, a rose taken in the prime of growth. I cannot help but be angry about this! There is a rage in me that stays as at the surface when her name is mentioned. I don’t fight that anymore. Nikki Giovanni says that “Rage is to writers what water is to fish.” I agree. There is an activist that I am familiar with, Johnetta Elzie, this on her Facebook post on August 23, 2020:


First, I didn’t even know this was a thing, but it is…

I have NO WORDS.

There is an unsettling quality to this. There is a conference about a police murder. A Black woman was murdered in her house, and people are having a conference about this? I agree with Johnetta, nothing about this is okay. Nothing! Nothing at all. A convention? A convention! This seems like the worst thing that could have come out of this–including one of the billboards in Louisville that some idiot hot a red bullseye onto! But this is what we do to Black women, isn’t it? The nation uses us as commodities, martyrs and punching bags. It is not bad enough that she was murdered in her house, a group of people decided to make an event around this! There are not adequate words for this. But yet, there is more to say about this. There is a dissociation happening between what needs to be done to get justice for her and what is actually being done. Granted, grassroots protests are good–and needed! The thing which is not being said is how easily the world kills Black women and expects us as Black people to profit off it! What do I mean when I say ‘profit off it’? Look at the previous example of the conference. Look at how her image is used to sell magazines. Oprah  bought billboard space to bring attention to her murder. There seems to be an element of exploitation surrounding this—and that does not miss my notice! I mean, the DA has said nothing about this murder either. Which is more disconcerting than the conference (BreonnaCon, they call it!)! I don’t the world realizes the tenacity it takes to be Black and woman in a society that wishes you either copy you, rape me, siphon you or kill you with impunity. The great Zora Neale Hurston said, “If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.” I am inclined to agree. This young woman was murdered and it seems that the best we can do is make her a meme–and even in making her a meme, a hashtag, we force the world to notice. They must notice! She was a daughter, a love, a friend, and a hero in a pandemic. And they killed her. And those officers–Brett Hakinson, Jonathan Mattingly, Myles Cosgrove–deserve neither anonymity nor peace. They deserve to be hounded, haunted and reminded of their status as lawless murderers. Breonna Taylor deserves better than what her life ever gave, and more worthy than her posthumous fame has granted. The law was not made to be fed with blood of Black women and men. Yet, it feasts on us–gorges on our flesh and fear. Breonna deserves better than what she has gotten! She must get more than what she has gotten! Make the law work for us, all of us…for once. Just once.

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