Mankato protests seeking justice for Breonna Taylor

Maxwell Mayleben ® Editor in Chief |
Photos by Mansoor Ahmad ® Photo Editor |

Community members rallied on the Veterans Memorial Bridge Wednesday evening to protest the decision that the two officers who killed Breonna Taylor during a raid on her apartment in March will not be charged.

Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman from Louisville, Kentucky, was killed after the Louisville Metro Police Department executed a “no-knock search warrant.”

A Kentucky grand jury brought no charges against the police department for the death of Taylor. Only three charges were brought forward against Officer Brett Hawkinson for wanton endangerment. These charges were due to Hawkinson firing into a home neighboring Taylor’s.

Dozens of people lined the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge to protest this announcement.

Armed with a multitude of signs and one megaphone, the crowd encouraged black women to gather on the median of the bridge to speak on their personal experiences.

“I’m terrified, still,” said protest organizer Jasmine Gates-D’Avilar.

D’Avilar, a 2020 Minnesota State University graduate and the administrator for the Facebook page “Stand up! Mankato” has been actively fighting against racial injustice in the Mankato community.

Anisa Omar, a former MNSU Student Government president, was also at the event.

“I am in agreeance with Jasmine who calls for the defunding of this murderous system and abolishing it and creating something that is just,” said Omar, “and that is the only way we can stop the killings and the death of Black and Brown bodies.”

Black students from MNSU arrived at the protest to make their voices heard.

“I’m happy this event came on, this event is necessary. What we are shouting for, what we are protesting for is that Black women matter.” said Shadow Rolan, a graduate student at MNSU. “We need to defund and abolish the police and figure out a way to protect and serve all people, not just certain people.”

Leiah Henderson, another Black student from MNSU, spoke to the need for continuous effort from non-Black allies.

“We need you guys to fight for us.” said Henderson, calling for non-black allies to speak out against injustice, “we can’t do this alone, we need everyone there.”

Near the end of the demonstration, several Black women joined hands, standing in front of the group of protesters.

Rolan took the megaphone again with a cry for help. “We are tired of being the strong black women,” said Rolan. ”When do we get a break?”

Header photo: Protesters gather on the Veterans Memorial Bridge to protest Breonna Taylor’s death Sept. 23, 2020 in Mankato, Minn. A grand jury has indicted one officer on criminal charges six months after Taylor was fatally shot by police in Kentucky. (Mansoor Ahmad/MSU Reporter)

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