For nearly 24 hours, I have been holding my breath. As the city of Louisville and the world awaits the decision from Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron regarding the death of Breonna Taylor, I have found myself gasping for air and longing for hope.
Like so many, I have fallen in love with a woman whose name I wish I never knew. Breonna Taylor’s life was cut short. Her name joins a list of names of men and women who have died from injustice and violence.
This litany of names tells the sad history of marginalized people whose lives were ended by the hands of the state. For generations, this lineage of oppression has unjustly silenced, broken, and diminished the voices, dreams, and futures of countless individuals. Upon the graves of the oppressed, corrupt institutions built their foundations.
A groundswell movement has cracked that corrupt foundational tombstone. The façade of oppression has been revealed. The epithets exposed. The names, which never should have been etched in the tablets of time, are now ingrained in the hearts of a movement that shouts, “Say Their Names!”
This cry is not new.
Two thousand twenty years ago, the hands of the state killed a young brown man. Fearful, fed-up, and facing punishment, the friends of this man protested against unjust laws, cried for justice, and shouted his name: Jesus Christ.
Then, like now, those in power demanded silence and participation in the status quo.
Then, like now, the state arrested, detained, and beat people who refused to be silent.
Then, like now, the dead have resurrected in the lives of those inspired by their memory.
Then, like now, facing a decision by the state in which we have no control of the outcome, prayer provides powerful hope.
Then, like now, the justice of a person’s life hangs in ambiguity, and a single mother mourns.
As the 118th day of protests descends into the night and the world clings with bated breath, I find myself looking towards our eternal Mother for guidance.
May this sorrowful mystery shrouding the city of Louisville be lifted, and may eternal light shine justice upon the margins of the world.
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy. Fill the void left from the life of Breonna Taylor, whose sweetness and hope has been cut short. To you, O Mary, do I cry for the poor banished child of Louisville. To you, O Mary, I send up my sighs, mourning, and weeping in this valley of tears. O most gracious Mary, be our Advocate. Shine your eyes of mercy towards us, as we continue our hundred-day howl for justice. O clement, O loving, O sweet Mary, may no other mother mourn the death of their child.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that our actions seeking justice for those on the margins be made worthy of Christ’s promises of peace, justice, and love for all.