Students march for Breonna Taylor

In light of recent decision in the Breonna Taylor case, UNI students organized a march on campus.

SARA QUALLEY

UNI students marched for Breonna Taylor on Thursday, Sept. 24 after officers were not charged for shooting her in her Louisville apartment earlier this year, as reported by AP News.

“Taylor, an emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times by white officers who entered her home on a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation,” AP News wrote on Wednesday, Sept. 23. “The warrant used to search her home was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.”

AP News also reported that former Louisville officer Brett Hankison was charged by a Kentucky grand jury Wednesday for three counts of wanton endangerment due to shots fired into a nearby, occupied home. Prosecutors found the other two officers involved in the shooting to be “justified in using force to protect themselves after they faced gunfire from her boyfriend.”

UNI students gathered at the Maucker Union fountain for the march on Thursday. Max Tensen, a secondary mathematics education major at UNI, kicked off the event.

Tensen expressed that he was disappointed in the judiciary system for not giving Taylor justice, and said he won’t rest until everyone has the same rights that he, a white male, possesses.

Tensen then introduced speaker Alisanne Struck, a public relations major with an emphasis in special events. Struck told the crowd that Black lives aren’t being valued, especially when an innocent Black woman was killed in her sleep.

Police interviews and transcripts have clarified that Taylor was not asleep at the time of her death, although she had been in bed at the time police arrived at the apartment. Testimony from Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker, as reported in multiple articles from the Louisville Courier Journal, has indicated that both Taylor and Walker got out of bed prior to the police entering the apartment, and Taylor died on the hallway floor.

Struck told the crowd that the U.S needs to do better, and loss only comes if people stop fighting for what’s right.

Diamond Roundtree, a theatre performance major, addressed the crowd next. She encouraged white members of the crowd to speak up and use their privilege.

“We have to continue to fight for change,” Roundtree said.

After hearing from crowd members who were invited to speak after those scheduled, the march commenced. Students marched from the Maucker Union fountain around Lang Hall and passed Seerley and Sabin Halls before coming back to the fountain. Chants rang throughout campus as the students circled around campus.

“Say her name: Breonna Taylor.”

“Say his name: George Floyd.”

“Black lives matter.”

“No justice, no peace.”

Logan Gray, a junior environmental science major, attended the march because he was upset about what happened to Taylor.

“There’s been no justice served for what happened to her, and there’s no reason for her to be shot in her own bed,” Gray said.

Gray shared that as a white male, he has privileges that Black people don’t, and he doesn’t fear police officers when he walks down the street. He worries for his Black friends, who do feel scared when they see police officers.

Cole Carolan, a junior English education major, said that he attended the march because “property shouldn’t be more valuable than life.”

Genevieve Cruz, a senior movement and exercise science major, and Johnnie Hill, a senior family services major minoring in mental health, helped plan the march. Both students hoped the march would spread awareness about Taylor’s case and bring attention to her name.

“She deserves justice,” Hill said. “No one deserves to be killed the way that she was killed in her own home. It just kind of shows you that Black people aren’t even safe in their own homes, and that’s definitely a problem, and this is definitely an issue that we need to fix as a country. And we all need to on the same page about this because no one deserves to die like that.”

Both students feel Taylor’s case shows how the justice system is corrupt and wasn’t made to protect people of color, especially Black Americans.

“I just hope people realize that it’s not about politics,” Cruz said. “This is just human rights.”

To further illustrate the purpose of the march they helped organize, Hill quoted civil rights leader John Lewis, who said, “When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair, you have a moral obligation to say something, to do something.”