LOUISVILLE, Ky. — On Saturday Breonna Taylor’s mom, Tamika Palmer, family, national and local leaders, and thousands of protesters gathered in front of Louisville Metro Hall in downtown Louisville to honor Taylor’s life.
It was the location for an organized balloon release for Breanna Taylor a day after her 27th birthday.
The lineup of speakers varied on the local and national level. One of the first speakers was Taylor’s aunt, Bianca Austin. She had heartfelt words and got the crowd going, and Palmer laughing amidst her tears of grief, lead everyone in the Stevie Wonder version of “Happy Birthday."
Louisville native and member of the Atlantia Falcons, Jamon Brown also made an appearance Saturday.
“We’re not celebrating her death but her life and what that meant. Right now we are standing here today in hopes, not just hopes, but in action we are going to make change, not only in our city but in the world,” Brown said.
Of course, a historical moment-in-the-making in Louisville, such as this one, wouldn’t be complete without some presence of Muhammad Ali. His cousin Sean Ali Waddell attended from Washington D.C. and gave one of the most powerful speeches.
“Let me tell you something, City of Compassion! Louisville, if you want to be the City of Compassion, you must first be a City of Justice! You must first be a City of Justice. Because people cannot have a heart of love and compassion and peace if it’s not predicated upon freedom of justice and equality for black people in this country,” Waddell vehemently said into the microphone before turning to Palmer and giving her a hug and said, “I love you.”
Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson touched down into Louisville Saturday afternoon ahead of his Sunday appearance at St. Stephen Church in West Louisville. The 78-year-old made his way through the crowd and also spoke.
“Police,” he asked people to chant. After they did, he said each word and had the sea of protesters repeat after him to say, “Police are citizens. When they kill, they must pay the price.”
Other speakers included the Mom and Dad of Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker; the President and CEO of the Louisville Urban League, Sadiqa Reynolds; U.S. House Representative John Yarmuth (D-KY); and Lonita Baker, one of the attorneys for Taylor’s family, to name a few.
After the speakers said their words, Palmer and close family released butterflies in Taylor’s honor while the protesters released blue, white, silver, and cream-colored balloons. They filled Louisville’s clear, blue sky and rose above the peaceful protests on Saturday.
Blue was one of Taylor’s favorite colors.