GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Dozens of people crowded Breonna Taylor Way Saturday afternoon to celebrate the street name changed in honor of the Grand Rapids native who was shot and killed by police in Kentucky last year.
Justice for Black Lives, a local organization, put together the event. The group collected 4,000 signatures and petitioned the city commission to rename the stretch of Monroe Center from Division to Monroe Avenues.
“Regardless of if the street name was here or not, we were going to continue to say her name,” said Justice for Black Lives President Aly, who asked us not to use her last name. “Now that we have the street name changed, it’s a reminder, every time that you drive past, that not only are we still fighting for justice, but Breonna Taylor was one of us. She was a Grand Rapidian, she was from here, and she deserves to be honored in her hometown.”
The event also highlighted local Black businesses and artists.
Vendors in attendance said Taylor’s story has resonated with them over the last year.
“I do have Black sisters and brothers and this could’ve happened to them,” said Valeria Perkins, Simply Remember-able Gifts Boutique owner.
In the months after her death, Taylor’s name became part of a nationwide racial and social justice reform movement. People on Saturday said they hoped for continued change, which leads to a more equal and equitable environment.
“She was young, Black, successful, doing stuff for her life—just knowing that that could be me,” said Shaquellia Staten, owner of Kyel’s Skin & Beauty. “We wish the[ir deaths] didn’t happen, but I feel like people are learning from this; people are learning what African American people go through. You learn about the challenges they face, and it’s so nice to see people gain that knowledge.”