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Breonna Taylor, A Gemini Just Like Me

By Mangbe

Editor: Lia James

Say her name. Breonna Taylor. 

Her life mattered. Mine does too. 

I want to scream out loud. Because as a Black woman, I feel perpetually unheard. And that makes me want to scream even louder.

On May 30th, at the NYC protest downtown, an officer elbowed me on my side and another dragged me by my bookbag. 

I had been standing in front of a Black man (a stranger) who was about to get into an altercation with a police officer. Instinctively, I had wanted to protect him. That’s why I was there. To protect. To defend. As Black women have always done. 

When I screamed at the officer “How dare you elbow me?” I felt no one else’s anger accompanying mine. Tears filled my eyes, but I refused to look around for help because I knew it wouldn’t be there. Whether somebody saw or not, nobody would come to my rescue. 

The world doesn’t show up. The world doesn’t protect Black women.

Police officers don’t hear me because I am not Karen, black men don’t hear me because I am not George.

I hate it here, tbh.

I feel like I have to carry the world on my shoulders and be silent about how I am feeling because it wouldn’t matter if I spoke up. There are people who are experiencing worse than I. 

George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Racially profiled and murdered.

But Breonna Taylor…

She was shot and killed in her own home.

A Black woman was taken from this earth. I am broken as I write this because she could easily be me. A Gemini. Our birthdays are 5 days apart. Or my sister. They were born in the same year.

I can do everything “right”, but who says it won’t be me next? An aspiring model-activist. A young Black woman from Harlem. The daughter of Ivorian immigrants.

Breonna was an essential worker.

Am I next?

I wish I could see more outrage or hurt about Breonna Taylor. Or the many other women who have been killed by the hands of law enforcement. Just like that moment on May 30th, I feel no one’s anger accompanying mine.

Black women are the backbone, the driving force and influencer of everything created in this world. But we are not heard.

I don’t feel protected. I don’t feel seen. I don’t feel heard. But I have to be present… I have to be strong. 

The least you can do is be angry with me.

Say her name. Breonna Taylor. 

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