Commentary  

Crowd Counting Consoritum: Say Her Name: Breonna Taylor

So far, the Crowd Counting Consortium has identified 47 events honoring Taylor on the anniversary of her death in more than 30 localities.

A sign reads
Photo Credit: Marty O’Neill, Unsplash

On the night of March 13, 2020, police in Louisville, Kentucky, shot and killed Breonna Taylor in the dark in her bed. Police officers were executing a search warrant as part of an investigation into drug trafficking with which Taylor, a Black woman and healthcare worker, had nothing to do.

One year later, on Saturday, March 13, 2021, people held vigils, rallies, demonstrations, and protests in cities and towns across the U.S. to remember Taylor and call for an end to police violence and racial injustice. So far, the Crowd Counting Consortium has identified 47 events honoring Taylor on the anniversary of her death in more than 30 localities.

The map below shows where those events occurred. Darker circles represent localities with multiple events. According to our data, New York City had at least five distinct events commemorating Taylor; Portland, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., each had at least four; L.A. had at least three; and Louisville and Seattle each saw at least two.

In Taylor’s hometown, hundreds gathered and marched throughout the day around Jefferson Square Park, a.k.a. Injustice Square, which has served as the focal point for Black Lives Matter demonstrations in that city since late May 2020. A local group called United Pharaoh’s Guard provided armed security for marchers. As is almost always the case with protests against police violence and racial injustice in the U.S., no violence occurred. That night, police in riot gear declared an unlawful assembly and broke up a march of about 50 protesters on River Road a couple of miles away.

New York City saw several events honoring Taylor throughout the day, many of them organized by Black women. In Manhattan, a few hundred people met at the Red Steps in Times Square for a die-in and march. In Brooklyn, the Roses for Breonna event brought together hundreds who later marched across the Brooklyn Bridge. Taylor was remembered at the nightly gathering in the Upper East Side’s Carl Schurz Park.

Washington, DC, hosted a six-mile bike ride—one mile for each of the shots police reportedly fired into Taylor’s apartment—from the National Museum of African American History and Culture, followed by a sunset rally and vigil for Taylor at Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park in the evening.

In Seattle, activists set up a memorial to Taylor at 11th and Pine Streets and invited people to drop by and pay respects throughout the day. That night, about 100 activists took part in a commemorative march that started at Occidental Park and made its way toward the ferry terminal, where police arrested 13 marchers for vandalism and obstructing or assaulting an officer.

L.A. saw several events in honor of Taylor throughout the day, including an afternoon march in Hollywood and an evening gathering in Sherman Oaks. Of course, the one that seemed to garner the most media coverage was a nighttime march from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery that involved as many as 200 demonstrators and led to clashes with policevandalism, and 11 arrests.

In Portland, Oregon, things got started on Friday night, when police kettled and detained a group of roughly 100 people out to protest against ICE and police violence shortly after they started marching. On Saturday, an afternoon march and an evening vigil on the Burnside Bridge each brought out hundreds to honor Taylor. That night, activists argued about tactics after the Black Unity group that staged the vigil on the Burnside Bridge joined hundreds of demonstrators already gathered outside the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse.

In Dayton, Ohio, dozens came to a rally and march that started at Courthouse Square, with members of the New Black Panther Party on hand to provide security.

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Taylor was born, the group Family Over Everything organized a commemorative march that brought together more than 100 people, including members of Taylor’s family.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, a small crowd convened next to a mural of Taylor for a brief, silent vigil in her honor.

In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the youth council of the local NAACP chapter organized a candlelight vigil at Peace and Justice Plaza on East Franklin Street. Scores turned out for speeches, musical performances, poetry, and chants of “Say her name! Breonna Taylor!”

Those are just some of the events honoring Taylor the Crowd Counting Consortium has recorded on March 13. We will probably find more over the course of this week, and we will inevitably fail to see some others, either because they were not covered in the media sources we track or we found no traces of them on social media.

Meanwhile, you can see our data collection in progress, including the records for all of these events and others from that day, in our monthly Google Sheet for March 2021. If you know about an event we have overlooked or see an error in our descriptions of events here, please consider submitting a record so we can record it.

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