“Breonna Taylor: Her life matters.”
Since the first publication of Oprah's glossy lifestyle magazine O 20 years ago, the media mogul and magazine's namesake has always been on the cover. For the first time ever, she's ceding the space. Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Kentucky woman who was asleep in her home when police officers broke in and shot and killed her, is August's cover star.
Her image, glowing brightly in the place where we're used to seeing one of the biggest household names of our time, reminds us how much was robbed from Taylor, a young woman who was working in an ER, saving lives during the pandemic. The cover is the work of Alexis Franklin, a self-trained 24-year-old digital artist.
In a post on the magazine's site, Oprah eulogizes Taylor, and shares the horrifying story of her killing from the perspective of Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer. Palmer told Oprah that she waited hours outside her daughter's house in the middle of the night before she learned her daughter was shot by the police.
None of the officers involved in the shooting have been fired or charged with a crime. “It was so reckless,” Palmer says. "They did all of this for nothing, and she lost her life.”
How could it be that a woman, a woman who was not so much as suspected of a crime, was shot and killed in her bed by officers of the state? How could those officers never be held accountable? How can we expect this situation not to repeat if we don't make change now?
Oprah lays out a simple, step-by-step plan for channeling grief over Taylor's death into action: Sign the Change.org petition to demand that the police officers be charged, that Taylor's family receives damages compensation, that a special prosecutor is appointed to investigate the case, and that a federal ban of no-knock warrants is considered in Congress. Use this easy script and automatic caller to demand to state, local, and federal officials that the officers involved fired and charged. Talk about Taylor on social media, using the hashtag #SayHerName. “We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice,” Oprah wrote.
And lastly, remember Breonna Taylor as you would want to be remembered if you were killed in your bed—not as a grizzly headline or a statistic or a meme—as a person.
Breonna Taylor loved cars and treated her 2019 Dodge Charger like a trusted friend. Breonna Taylor loved chicken any way you could cook it. Breonna Taylor put hot sauce on everything, especially eggs. Breonna Taylor appreciated every kind of music and the dances that went along. Breonna Taylor treated all her friends like besties. Breonna Taylor was a force in the life of her 20-year-old sister. Breonna Taylor felt meaning and purpose in her work as an emergency room technician. Breonna Taylor was saving to buy a house. Breonna Taylor had plans. Breonna Taylor had dreams. They all died with her the night five bullets shattered her body and her future.
Now it's on us to say her name.
Jenny Singer is a staff writer for Glamour. You can follow her on Twitter.
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