Ohio University

Statement from the OHIO Division of Diversity and Inclusion regarding Breonna Taylor and Invitation to Public Forum

Published: September 28, 2020 Author: Staff reports

The following message was shared with the University community on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020.

To the OHIO community:

We grieve the senseless and tragic death of Breonna Taylor and mourn for the justice she did not receive.

While we grieve, we will continue to focus our energies on how we move forward while holding space for all among us most affected by the ongoing trauma and pain of systemic racism.

In support of Breonna Taylor and to commemorate other senseless acts against the Black community, we invite OHIO women of color and allies - students, faculty, staff, and alumni - to an Online Forum on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, from noon to 1 p.m. Hosted by Dr. Kristyn Neckles and Dr. Sheila Williams, this coming-together will be a space of mourning, reflection, and processing. Please email diversityinclusion@ohio.edu to register for the event.

Breonna Taylor was a 26-year-old woman who served her community as an E.M.T. and was planning to continue her career in healthcare. She died following a “no knock warrant,” a procedure that is now banned in Louisville, Kentucky, through a city ordinance carrying her name, “Breonna’s Law.” She was shot after police entered her home while she was asleep. She was shot to death by a Louisville police officer, after two officers shot 32 times into her apartment. She did not deserve to die this way. And let us be clear: No one does. Black Lives Matter.

On Wednesday last week, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced the grand jury’s decision in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor. To the dismay of many, none of the police officers involved in the shooting were charged with her death. Instead, the grand jury returned an indictment for a lesser charge of wanton endangerment for only one of the three officers. In effect, the officer was charged with endangering Taylor’s neighbors by aimlessly shooting into their apartment as well - but not for shooting into Taylor’s apartment and killing her.

To say that we - whose work focuses on creating a culture of equity, understanding, and racial justice - are disappointed in this outcome is an understatement. This breakdown in the justice system and the near-daily killings of Black and Brown people are painful reminders of the crucial anti-racist work we have do to as a campus and as a country. 
The staff within the Division of Diversity and Inclusion will continue to work to empower communities who are most marginalized and their allies. We encourage faculty and staff to create space to acknowledge the pain that many of our students are feeling. And we encourage our faculty and staff to create space for themselves as well.

Please know that you are not alone in your grief, in your shock, in your anger. We stand with you and vow to work with all of you to realize our collective vision of a world free of oppression, including racism and sexism. 

Say Her Name: Breonna Taylor.

In solidarity,

Dr. Gigi Secuban – Vice President, Division of Diversity and Inclusion
Micah McCarey – Director, LGBT Center
Dr. Winsome Chunnu – Director, Multicultural Center
Dr. Marlene De La Cruz-Guzmán - Director, Office of Multicultural Student Access and Retention (OMSAR)
Dr. M. Geneva Murray – Director, Women's Center