How about we keep up the protests, emails and calls instead?
(@arielsinhaha / Instagram)
One hundred and six days ago, Breonna Taylor was sound asleep when three police officers barged into her home without warning and murdered her in her sleep. Eight shots killed her
Yet after protests, petitions, even a damn law, the officers continue to sleep at home instead of behind bars. Only one has been fired, while the other two remain on administrative leave.
The only arrest made was against Kenneth Walker, Breonna’s boyfriend who shot one officer in the leg after mistaking them for burglars. (But it would be easy to mistake anyone who doesn’t identify themselves.)
Breonna Taylor died 73 days before George Floyd and justice has yet to be served. Unlike Floyd’s death, Breonna’s is not controversial. (Floyd’s death shouldn’t be controversial anyways, but that’s a rant for another article.) You cannot argue against the character of Breonna, an EMT who fought on the battlefields of COVID-19.
So, It feels like we can all agree that what happened was wrong. That doesn’t mean you should make a meme about it.
Memes are fun, they’re humorous. Yeah, they spread like wildfire on social media, which has become a vessel for social justice. But, you know what’s not funny? Murder.
“Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” has spiraled through the Twitterverse. While the intentions may have been good, they really just show how people don’t take the deaths of Black women as seriously as they do for Black men.
Lil Nas X appears to have made one of the memes that got this shitfest started. On June 14, he tweeted “yeah I’m gay”
“ g - arrest / a - Breonna Taylor’s / y - murderers”
After receiving backlash, the rapper deleted the tweet and issued an apology. But, that doesn’t mean that others received the message.
So, if you’re one of those people, let me break it down: Turning Breonna’s death into a meme belittles the argument to arrest her. It condenses her tragedy into something that’s more palatable. After they circulate for a while, they lose meaning. And we cannot become desensitized to Breonna Taylor or any other Black women’s deaths.
This means you cannot just add "Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor" into a cute picture to transition your social media feed back to "normal" either. Inserting Breonna's tragedy into an "aesthetically-appealing" image dilutes its purpose. And in case you've forgotten: it's a privilege to forget the cruelty of her murder.
If you think the memes are a great way to spread awareness, the sheer fact that Breonna was murdered by policemen — who were supposed to be the “safeguards” of our people — without reason should be convincing enough. Share facts. Share family stories or Gofundme’s. Share petitions.
I guess we all cope and react in different ways, but there are more effective actions for change. And there are more productive ways you can spend your time for the cause.
Here’s What You Should Do Instead:
Peaceful protesters have continued to chant Breonna’s name, even as the cameras fade away. Boosting these powerful pleads would do a lot more good than creating a meme. They deserve as much attention as the minuscule number of looters from a couple of weeks ago.
Instead of putting energy into making memes, why don’t you try creating art? Beautiful art that reminds people of the gorgeous woman that Breonna was. Remind people of her story — not how it ended but who she was when she was alive.
We’ve already waited way too damn long but that does not mean that memes will make the arrests happen any sooner. Post petitions, people to call, emails to send.
Here’s some info to get you started:
Change Petition: https://www.change.org/p/andy-beshear-justice-for-breonna-taylor
Action Network Petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/justice-for-breonna-taylor
Stand With Bree takes you through numerous people to call to advocate for Breonna Taylor.
Follow in Beyonce’s footsteps and email the Kentucky Attorney General and Governor here.
Donate to the Louisville Community Bail Fund here to support local protestors fighting for Breonna
Donate to the Taylor family Gofundme here
Lauren Rousseau is the Online Editor for Rowdy Magazine. She likes watching drug-store versions of The Bachelor and baking cookies at inappropriate hours. You can find her on Instagram at @laurenxrousseau and pitch her stories at firstname.lastname@example.org