By Mike Talavera
A protest demanding people’s justice for Breonna Taylor Wednesday night started at Austin City Hall before winding through the downtown area, repelling backward elements and evading police pursuit. Eleven were arrested, but the march continued on, chanting “From Austin to Louisville – Fight For Breonna Taylor!” and eventually ending on protesters’ own terms.
Earlier that day, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that a grand jury had not indicted any police for the murder of Breonna Taylor and had only indicted former officer Brett Hankison, who shot 10 bullets into Breonna’s apartment, for “wanton endangerment.” In response, the people of Louisville and many other cities rose in rebellion against the ruling class’s blatant disdain for Black lives. At least two police officers were injured in Louisville Wednesday night after they fired tear gas and gunshots were fired back.
Last weekend in Austin, Austin Justice Coalition hosted an event at City Hall as part of a National Day of Action for Breonna Taylor, and groups like Star Power Blac Kollective, Peace In Austin, and the Mike Ramos Brigade (among others) spoke and united around calls to end racism by changing society itself.
That unity carried over to the action Wednesday, where MRB took a leading role, joined by other organizations like SPBK and Movimiento Femenino Popular-Popular Women’s Movement. One MRB speaker tied Cameron’s lack of action on Breonna’s case to Austin District Attorney Margaret Moore’s refusal to put the officers who murdered Mike Ramos in April before a grand jury. “And at the same time, they do not hesitate to criminalize, harass, and charge protesters,” she said. “This is a contradiction that will not stand!”
After the crowd forced out independent livestreamer Hiram Garcia for his record of siding with the police over protesters, the march began and quickly took the street, chanting slogans like, “Killer cops are running free! They deserve to fucking bleed!” and “Cops all over love to kill! Austin stands with Louisville!”
When police rushed protesters and made arrests, the group banded together and continued marching, shouting Breonna Taylor’s name and expressing solidarity with Louisville. At one point, Infowars reporter Savanah Hernandez was identified in the crowd and her camera was quickly knocked out of her hand. Women led the charge of physically attacking the reactionary and expelling her from the crowd.
Whether it be through rallies or marches, the movement for Black lives in Austin has been steeled through struggling towards principled unity, and the sacrifices of heroes like Garrett Foster have forged new fighters in the streets. The failure to indict Breonna’s murderers has not discouraged the people but has made the lines between friends and enemies of the movement more clear.