A portrait of Breonna Taylor is on the cover for Oprah's ``O” Magazine September Issue. Never in the twenty year history of O Magazine, Oprah Winfreys namesake, has there been anyone’s image other than the Media Mogul herself on the cover. Oprah, like many of us, has been moved by the outcry for justice for Breonna, a young woman just at the cusp of life.
Oprah states “We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice”. If you didn’t already know, Breonna Taylor, was a 26-year-old African-American emergency medical technician who was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department officers, Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove on March 13th, 2020 just after midnight in her home.* These plain clothed officers were executing a no-knock search warrant, engaged in a gunfight with Breonna's boyfriend who thought he was defending against a home invasion. Breonna’s death and that of countless others at the hands of police officers sparked protests around the country and they continue to this day. Oprah is one of the most powerful media icons on the planet, deciding to break tradition and use her megaphone for justice with a shift in attention, featuring Breonna instead of herself.
Social media users and protesters across the world have been campaigning for justice for Breonna, spreading the hashtags #SayHerName and #arrestthecopsthatkilledBreonnaTaylor in all corners of the world. Oprah also posted Breonna's image on 26 billboards across Louisville, her hometown.
There are many activists, influencers and celebrities who are and have been using their platforms to amplify the call for justice and police accountability, demanding the officers involved in Breonna's killing be arrested.
Professional tennis champion Naomi Osaka, representing Japan, wore a Justice for Breonna Taylor face mask as her megaphone, connecting with her fan base and supporters around the globe to perpetuate the message. NBA players across the league have “postponed” or boycotted games in support of the innocent victims whose lives were unjustly snatched from them at the hands of law enforcement.
The message flowing from these megaphones for justice is clear. Stand for Something, speak out and use your platform to demand justice. At the beginning and the end of every day, we have choices. In the light of so many atrocities against African Americans and other people of color in the United States and around the world, we cannot be silent, be a megaphone.
By Woodie Lesesne