Building a World Where Breonna Taylor Could Live
Victory will not be achieved through prosecutions, but through transforming the conditions of violence
This article is part of Abolition for the People, a series brought to you by a partnership between Kaepernick Publishing and LEVEL, a Medium publication for and about the lives of Black and Brown men. The series, which comprises 30 essays and conversations over four weeks, points to the crucial conclusion that policing and prisons are not solutions for the issues and people the state deems social problems — and calls for a future that puts justice and the needs of the community first.
The outcry in response to Breonna Taylor’s murder by the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department is indisputably unprecedented — I have never, in my two and a half decades of organizing to end police violence against Black women, seen billboards, mainstream magazine issues, celebrities, or an entire basketball season dedicated to demanding justice on behalf of a Black woman killed by police. Police violence against Black women, is, at least to some degree, indeed invisible no more.
The thing is, visibility is only the starting point, not the endgame.
The goal is a world where Breonna Taylor would still be with us. A world where Black women aren’t the group most likely to be killed by police when unarmed, the women most likely to experience arrest or use of force during a traffic stop, the fastest-growing arrest, prison and jail populations. The goal is a world where cops like Daniel Holtzclaw don’t target Black women, queer, and trans people for sexual violence. The goal is a world where Black women don’t face the highest levels of domestic, sexual, and community violence alongside Native women.
As shown by the decision not to indict anyone for Breonna’s murder, accountability won’t come from the system that sent them to her door.
Black women’s experiences of policing and safety teach us that abolition is the path that leads us there.