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Teen Vogue: ‘Breonna Taylor Is on Young Gun Activists’ Minds As They Fight for Change’

March 15, 2021

On Saturday, seven young Black women activists and gun violence survivors with Students Demand Action penned a letter in Teen Vogue to commemorate the one year mark since Breonna Taylor’s murder. The letter details the young Black activists’ work in the gun violence prevention movement, how Taylor’s death affected them, and the need for immediate action on gun safety in the country.  

Recently, the House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act and legislation to require background checks on all gun sales and to address the ‘Charleston loophole.’ The bills now move to the Senate. Students Demand Action volunteers are also supporting legislation to combat police violence in 16 states across the country. 

Students Demand Action volunteers write: 

“It’s been one year. One year since you were taken by police gun violence. A year since your family, friends, colleagues, and others lost a bright light. And a year since we lost another Black woman with dreams, ambitions, and her whole life in front of her.

You were taken too soon, like too many others. Atatiana Jefferson. Korryn Gaines. Michelle Cusseaux. And so many others whose names we don’t even know. Your death wasn’t the first to wake us up and remind us what it means to be a Black woman in the United States, but it was different. Things changed when we heard your story.

It’s unbelievable that it’s already been a year since your death, but perhaps that’s because the nation didn’t learn who you were until months later — something that happens too often after Black people are shot and killed, particularly by police. We learned of your death and took to the streets, social media, and any other platform we could to say your name and tell your story.

Too often the rage about police violence is concentrated and fleeting. The broader conversation only lasts a short period of time. Maybe it’s days. Maybe weeks. Maybe months if we are lucky. But for us, it’s different. As young Black women, we hold your story in everything we do. We see you and your dreams in ourselves.

Make no mistake — it’s exhausting work. Some days, we are “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” as Fannie Lou Hamer famously said. Tired of the sexism from being women and the racism from being Black. Tired of screaming to have our voices heard, work recognized, and lives protected.

Even though we did not know you personally, we want to thank you, Breonna. Thank you for being a woman we can look up to. We honor you today and every day. And we will continue fighting for your justice.”

Read the full piece here. To learn more about the work of Students Demand Action volunteers against police violence federally or statewide, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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