New Haven Protesters Gather To Remember Breonna Taylor After Grand Jury Decision | Connecticut Public Radio
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New Haven Protesters Gather To Remember Breonna Taylor After Grand Jury Decision

Sep 25, 2020

Protesters gathered in New Haven Thursday night, blocking traffic and demonstrating in response to the charges in the fatal Louisville police shooting of Breonna Taylor.

The night ended with a dance party at the intersection of Sherman and Whalley avenues in New Haven. Black women danced in the middle of the street. Other protesters, many of them white, sat along the lines of a crosswalk, blocking one of New Haven’s busier intersections. Chants of “Black women matter” had turned into song by that hour. One protester beatboxed into a microphone connected to a portable speaker.

Protesters walk on Chapel Street in New Haven. They held up traffic in some intersections for minutes at a time.
Credit Ali Oshinskie / Connecticut Public Radio

While the night ended with dance, it began with tears on what many called a heavy day -- just one day after a grand jury in Kentucky indicted one police officer involved in the raid that left Breonna Taylor dead. But the grand jury brought no charges specifically related to Taylor’s death.

And that left Ala Ochumare, co-founder and organizer of Black Lives Matter New Haven, angry but not surprised.

"I’m not surprised at all," she said. "But I’m still very angry like I am surprised. But also holding the space that this system was never been designed to protect or take care of Black and brown lives. It was actually designed to do the opposite of that. So to hold the space that the system is doing exactly what it was created to do, and that is erase us, murder us and then not hold anyone accountable is what I’m holding with.”

Ala Ochumare, co-founder of Black Lives Matter New Haven, organized a group of speakers and led the group through the streets of New Haven. For many, the day was a reminder of the disregard for Black life in America.
Credit Yehyun Kim / Connecticut Mirror

State Sen. Gary Winfield spoke at the protest and said the outcome of the case, and the lack of charges related to Taylor’s death, was an insult.

“A brilliant, beautiful young woman like Breonna Taylor, and all of the others, can be killed by people who wear the uniform of the state and her name doesn’t get mentioned,” he said.

But at this protest, Taylor’s name was heard loud and clear.

Ali Oshinskie is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Ali covers the Naugatuck River Valley for Connecticut Public Radio. Email her at aoshinskie@ctpublic.org and follow her on Twitter at @ahleeoh.