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Breonna Taylor: An Open Letter from the Editor

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By Cy White. Image of Breonna Taylor poster by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash.

Breonna Taylor is dead. A 26-year-old Black woman woken from slumber by the sound of raised voices and gunfire by police officers. Today, the courts ruled that none of them is going to be held responsible for the five bullets that snatched the life out of her. Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020 will mark another dark moment in history.

As the managing editor of Austin Woman magazine—the veritable voice of women in Austin—I know I have a unique chance to say…something. I’m put in the middle of wanting to be loud and having to temper my voice. I understand that. A queen understands diplomacy in a time of extreme unrest. I’m not here to get political. I’m not here to spout platitudes and play the role of the passive peacekeeper. As a black woman I can’t be passive. I can’t be quiet. However, what I can be, what I must be, is smart.

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I come to you, dear reader. First humble, then with all the love in my heart. I speak to you, to your humanity. Call your Black friends, give them your heart, your ear, your undivided attention. Listen to their pain and tell your non-Black friends and family that now is not the time to be silent.

My brothers and sisters, I speak to you.

Your anger, our anger is justified. It is real. This is real. What I hope for you more than anything is your safety. So much of our lives are shrouded in dangers obvious and covert. Keep yourselves safe. Keep your loved ones safe. Use that energy, that anger to be active, to be constructive. Rage might temporarily ease the hurt in your body and your spirit. But it shouldn’t be the answer and won’t bring Breonna back, and it won’t change things to what they should be.

I ask you to hold on to that energy. Let it motivate you to rally behind the powers of goodness, the powers of change, the powers of love. Intelligence is strength. Your voice is power. Tell your family, friends and loved ones to continue to fight. Tell your non-black allies to pull up. The systems put in place failed Breonna Taylor, as it has failed so many. But her spirit is what we must cherish. She was an agent of healing, of compassion, of unbiased care for life.

We must do our part to honor that memory. I don’t know you personally, but I am with you. It will hurt now more than it has at any other time, but we will come out of this darkness as we have so many times. Because we must. Because we owe it to ourselves, to Breonna, her family and so many others, to seek the light.

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