Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine is quite literally taking its activism to the streets — posting 26 billboards across Louisville, Ky., demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old emergency medical technician who was killed in her apartment by police in March.
The billboards, one for each year of Taylor’s life, were erected in Taylor’s hometown on Aug. 6, the magazine said. They feature the magazine’s September cover image of Taylor with a call to action that reads: “Demand that the police involved in killing Breonna Taylor be arrested and charged.”
It also includes a quote from Winfrey’s September issue essay that says: “If you turn a blind eye to racism, you become an accomplice to it.”
A billboard featuring Breonna Taylor.
(Kyle Gordon / O, the Oprah Magazine)
The signage appears all over Louisville, including downtown, South End and West End.
Last week, the magazine marked a milestone with its decision to put Taylor on its cover. It’s the first time someone other than Winfrey graced the glossy front in the magazine’s 20-year history. The portrait of Taylor was created by 24-year-old artist Alexis Franklin.
Taylor was killed just after midnight on March 13 when Louisville police, executing a search warrant, forced their way into her home. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a shot at an officer’s leg. The police fired back with at least 20 bullets, striking Taylor eight times.
“I cry for justice in her name,” Winfrey wrote in a powerful column for O.
The TV queen joined NBA players and other luminaries including Beyoncé, Solange, Gabrielle Union, Lena Waithe and Kerry Washington, who have used their elevated platforms to call for action after Taylor was killed by officers using a “no-knock” search warrant.
No-knock warrants have since been banned in Louisville but the officers involved in Taylor’s shooting — Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove — have not been arrested. Hankison has been fired.
The Louisville billboards also direct people to UntilFreedom.com. The organization, cofounded by activists Tamika D. Mallory, Mysonne Linen, Angelo Pinto and Linda Sarsour, has the support of Taylor’s family. The group has taken up residence in Louisville to focus its energy on Taylor’s case and offers instructions on how “to take action against injustice.”