On Friday, thousands of people gathered in downtown Louisville to celebrate the birthday of Breonna Taylor — the 26-year-old Black woman who was killed in her home by police in March. Taylor would have been 27 on June 5. She was shot by Louisville Metro Police in a drug raid, and her death — along with that of George Floyd in Minneapolis — has been a catalyst for nine days of protests across Louisville and the nation.
Although the protests began on May 28 and were sometimes violent — seven people were shot the first night, there were scattered reports of looting and vandalism, police shot tear gas and pepper balls at protesters and a man named David McAtee was killed by law enforcement — since Mayor Greg Fischer lifted a city-wide curfew they’ve been largely peaceful. On Friday, people came together under the blazing sun to sing songs, share cake and remember Breonna Taylor.
Shortly after 9:30 p.m. as the sun set, a portrait of Taylor was projected onto Metro Hall.
Jaylin Stewart is the artist behind the installation. She said the project is about remembering Taylor, and pushing for her to get justice.
“It was important that I do this. It’s important that you speak up and be vocal, be a part of this and make sure we see her face and say her name and fight for her justice,” Stewart said. “We will not be silenced until we get the justice she deserves.”
Gabrielle Thompson, 27, said the image of Taylor projected on the city building is emotional, powerful and important.
“She deserves to be seen, she deserves justice,” Thompson said. “And we will be out here every night until she gets it. “
Stewart also gifted a portrait to Taylor’s family. She said the installation will remain until 2 a.m. Sunday.