Acclaimed photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier took portraits of Breonna Taylor’s family for the cover story of Vanity Fair’s September issue (guest-edited by Ta-Nehisi Coates, with words by Breonna’s mother Tamika Palmer). Below is LaToya’s powerfully moving statement on the project.
I can’t stop thinking about Breonna Taylor, her murder and unjust criminalization made me so upset that I risked my life and broke quarantine, knowing I am highly susceptible to COVID-19 due to having Lupus, an autoimmune disorder. This is how much it meant to me to reclaim a visual justice and humane dignified representations of Breonna and her family members. My mother was a nurse, my niece is an aspiring nurse, Breonna Taylor wanted to be a nurse, not a piece of legislation or another slain statistic at the hands of law enforcement in America. Since Breonna worked as an EMT this would mean that the LMPD are her colleagues. To be brutally murdered at home, in the middle of the night, by the very people you work with within your community is the most offensive and heinous crime against humanity.
If you look up the very definition of the characteristics and attributes of an EMT worker or a nurse, it provides the proof and evidence of Breonna’s character. My portraits are a call for justice and the unwavering steadfast endurance of Black women in America regardless of the persecution we face on a daily basis. Breonna Taylor is a hero, a frontline essential worker, and I demand justice now. Lastly, the way the LMPD portrayed her loving boyfriend and fiancé Kenneth Walker was inexcusable. These portraits serve to restore Kenneth's humanity and to honor his love for Breonna, as he was about to propose to her. It is abundantly clear that as time goes on and more details are revealed and there are still no arrests of the police officers and detective that murdered Breonna, that in America Black people have no constitutional rights, and therefore all lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter!