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Plans underway in Grand Rapids for mural honoring Breonna Taylor

Posted at 9:03 PM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 23:10:28-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  — Most people may not see much when looking at the front of the burned down building at the corner of Eastern Avenue and Oakdale Street in Grand Rapids.

But for local artist Jasmine Bruce, she envisions it as a catalyst for change.

“This is a very busy road,” said Bruce. “People walking by, driving by, will see it every day just getting people to kind of wake up a little bit more about the topic and these lives that are being lost.”

Bruce is one of a handful of local artists working alongside Black Lives Matter Greater Grand Rapids and Justice for Black Lives in coordination with the Taylor family to create a mural in honor of Breonna Taylor.

“We want people to just kind of take a walk through her life and understand more about her and not just the fact that she was murdered,” said Esan Somersell, artist.

In March, plainclothes police in Louisville shot and killed the Grand Rapids native while executing a no-knock search warrant at her home in connection to a drug investigation.

Taylor’s boyfriend shot at police think they were intruders which led to the officer’s return fire.

Police shot Taylor at least eight times. They did not find drugs at the apartment and the officers do not face any charges at this time.

“The police brutality has to stop,” said Tawana Gordon, Taylor’s cousin.

Gordon believes justice will eventually come, but says for now they need to honor her legacy through projects like the mural.

“It is going to share pictures of her when she was small all the way through elementary, middle school then onward into her adult years,” said Gordon.

What that timeline of Taylor’s life looks like in art is still underway, but the mural will wrap around the building.

Artists hope to start painting this weekend.

“Our hope as a family is, when you start to see her family pictures and you start to see pictures of people that are important to her, that you feel apart of our family and it humanizes her and tells more than just her death,” said Rori Harris, Breonna’s cousin.

“People will just get the chance to actually know who she was as a person and realize that it’s very close to home for a lot of people, especially here in Grand Rapids,” said Bruce. “Art has the power to do that, to be sort of that transformative vehicle for change.”

The mural will stay up until construction begins on the building its on at the end of September.

After its renovated, pieces of the art will go into the building’s front room, which will be named after Taylor according to the building owner.

“Breonna was amazing, so anything that is Breonna, is always amazing,” said Gordon.

Money is being raised for supplies and artist compensation.

To donate, click here.