24-hour vigil marking Breonna Taylor’s birthday

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Dozens of people gathered at Rosa Parks Circle overnight to remember Breonna Taylor, a Grand Rapids native who was killed by police in Louisville after they entered her home on a search warrant and fired nearly two dozen bullets.

“We wanted to give her love on what would’ve been her birthday yesterday, she would’ve turned 27 years old,” said Brianna Urena-Ravelo, one of the organizers of the 24-hour vigil.

In March, plain-clothed officers entered Taylor’s home and executed a “no-knock” search warrant in an attempted drug bust. Taylor’s boyfriend thought someone broke in to rob them and that’s when police say he began shooting.

The officers shot back, fired at least 20 bullets and struck Taylor at least eight times.

Urena-Ravelo says the goal isn’t only to raise awareness about Taylor, but also to bring light to the issue as a whole.

An undated courtesy photo of Breonna Taylor.
An undated courtesy photo of Breonna Taylor.

“We know that women and young girls, including trans women and young girls, are often ignored and erased from the conversation of police brutality, state violence, police murder,” Urena-Ravelo said. “I think a lot of times people think it’s just African-American men, it’s just black men, but it’s really something that affects a whole community.”

“It’s very close to us right — when one of our own dies like that,” said Lorena Aguayo-Marquez, one of the attendees of the vigil. “We demand that the police get defunded, right, and also invest the money in the community. The disregard for black lives, we want to change that, everyone is human.”

The vigil began at 9 p.m. Friday and is set to end at 9 p.m. on Saturday. Taylor’s family could not attend, as they were at another vigil in Louisville, but they say they’re glad the community is coming together to rally for justice.

The Grand Rapids gathering is part of a nationwide movement to support Taylor.

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