MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A “Say Her Name” protest to demand police reform and justice for the death of Breonna Taylor was held on Saturday afternoon.
Taylor was killed by Louisville in March and recently a grand jury indicted one of three officers involved in the case. Its decision has been met with contempt by many, including the roughly 200 people who gathered at the old courthouse before marching through downtown on Saturday afternoon. Many wielded signs and all listened to impassioned speakers Del. Danielle Walker, a WVU freshman and protest organizer Samantha Norris.
“We need to bring awareness to Breonna Taylor, she was unjustly murdered in her home and never received justice at all, her killers just walked off scot free,” Norris said. “We need to bring point to the fact that cops should not be allowed to just commit crimes with impunity because they have a badge. You cannot be allowed to murder someone for no reason because you have a badge. And also we need to bring the fact that black people are killed at a rate three times higher than white people in this nation. And sure more white people are killed numbers wide but they are over — over 60 percent of the country is white, 17 percent of the country is black. That’s horrifying numbers.”
Norris said racial bias in policing needed to end a long time ago, so it’s “insane” to think that it is still being addressed in 2020.
The turnout for the protest was significant, consisting of many college age students, but also people older and younger than that age group. Norris said she always appreciates having the support of the Morgantown community, who she said is “great” and cares about racial issues in America.
“They care about pushing forward, how great this country can actually be, they care about real change societally and within legislation,” Norris said. “They’ve written to their city council members, they’ve written to their commissioners, they’ve made calls on calls and they have gotten action taken in Morgantown to make change happen.”
The Morgantown City Council is currently working towards creating a police oversight board and that wouldn’t be happening if not for the political pressure put on the city by protests in the summer, Norris said. When people care, don’t stop fighting and make their demands known they can effect change, she added.
Although the initial protests looks to be bringing about change, Norris said, it is not enough.
“If you aren’t registered to vote, register to vote,” Norris said. “If you aren’t calling your senators and complaining about things, call them. Call and tell your senators that you don’t want them to appoint a new supreme court justice until the next president because they set that precedent in 2016 and if we’re following a precedent, then let’s follow it. Make sure that you are getting involved because we can’t do this alone, you have to do it.”
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