Colorful murals on a white background depict the faces of Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. (Courtesy of @Sarahmirk at commons.wikimedia.org)

Phyllis Kimber-Wilcox | Contributor

 

“Image”

  1. a mental representation; idea; conception.

— Dictionionary.com

Since Breanna Taylor was killed  in March, we’ve lived through a number of different Americas.

There was the America she died in, the one which swallowed Black lights whole. Extinguished  with little attention given to the grief of loved ones because how bright do you have to be when it’s an election year?

We are living through the America that witnessed and rejected George Floyd’s death, though the nation recoiled and marched demanding justice; we are in the midst of living through the consequences which radiate out from that death.

After the protests, which began this summer, we are now part of an America entering into what some are calling the Third Reconstruction — tying the movement we are witnessing to the hundreds of years’ old push for civil rights in this nation — while others say this is a push for human rights; a struggle much longer than the first.

However you define it, we’re feeling the beginnings of backlash America, an America we should  immediately recognize. And as of this writing an official America which has chosen to travel back to the future — again.

Breanna Taylor the person, existed and is loved, treasured and missed outside of the public  image created by strangers. But the context in which she died is a structure upon which people, many more than those she knew and touched in her short life, have crafted and created an image to suit themselves and serve up for good or bad in the public context. Whatever and whoever these contradictory creations are, absolutely none of them has anything to do with the living, young beauty — the shining person Breanna Taylor is to those who loved and knew her best and miss her most.

Depiction of Breonna Taylor (Courtesy Phyllis Kimber-Wilcox)

Lots of people have lots to say about her image. This writing is no better than any external version of her image, in that I can only speak dimly of the public cypher made of the tragedy of her death.

I have started to write about her many times only to have one unprecedented thing after another occur, all of which most reading this are aware of, changing the public image and the conversation around her death.

After the Attorney General announced his failure to indict the police officers involved in her death, two Grand Jurors have recently spoken out about what occurred behind the scenes of the Grand Jury’s deliberations — something which never happens and is an example of the uncharted territory we are in. According to an interview given to CBS This Morning’s Gayle King:

King:

So, when you all looked, Juror One and Two, and you’re told the only thing you  need to consider right now is wanton endangerment, did anyone say, ‘Hey are there any other options here?’ Did you say that?

Juror One:

Everyone.

Juror Two:

Almost the entire room.

Juror One:

Yes. Everyone said that.

King:

What was the answer you were given ?

Juror Two:

Basically, in a nutshell, they said there were other possible charges we could consider but  nothing we could make stick. Or, that we felt could make stick.

According to CBS both jurors called police behavior in this case “reckless.”

Her sweet, baby face is everywhere. There are a myriad of beautiful images of Breanna Taylor  in oils, watercolor, spray paint and chalk; and there are other, disparaging images, too. No matter how lovely or ugly the image of the real Breanna Taylor is, strangers like me struggle and use words to describe a loss none of us can bear to imagine.

Phyllis Kimber-Wilcox is a student and history buff — a grandmother, a parent, a sister, an aunt and lover of people, animals, plants, and the planet.

Works Cited

CBS This Morning. ” Two Breonna Taylor Jurors Speak for the first time in “CBS This Morning” Gayle King exclusive. ” Youtube.  27 Oct 2020.  https://youtu.be/s9G0XBLEIO4

CBS This Morning. “2 Breonna Taylor Jurors speak for the first time in “CBS This Morning” Gayle King exclusive.” CBS NEWS.   27 Oct 2020. https://www.cbsnews.com/video/two-breonna-taylor-grand-jurors-speak-for-first-time-in-cbs-this-morning-gayle-king-exclusive/#app

CBS This Morning. ” 2 grand jurors in the Breonna Taylor case speak out for the first time.” You’re.  27 Oct 2020. https://youtu.be/WC0uEA2elP8.