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Breonna Taylor honored in chalk on pavement in Elmont

Sights and sounds from protests across Long Island on Friday, July 17. Credit: Newsday, and Jeff Bachner / Dandan Zou

In Elmont, about three dozen people gathered at Elmont Road Park on Friday night to draw and write in colorful chalk on the pavement to honor Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was killed by Louisville police in March.

“We actually felt we really have a connection with her,” said Sarah Campbell, one of the organizers with Elmont Strong, a community organization founded a month ago. “She’s like one of our daughters … that we think about graduating high school. She has a job now, and then she gets killed in her own house not doing anything.”

Friday’s event, Campbell said, was providing a “community outlet to bring light into the tragedy of Breonna Taylor.” It was one of a handful of similar events scheduled for the evening and among the latest of dozens that have been held on Long Island over the past two months.

Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was shot at least eight times after officers forcibly entered her apartment shortly after midnight on March 13, executing a no-knock warrant in a police raid, according to authorities and news reports. Louisville officials have since banned the use of no-knock warrants and fired one of the officers involved in the shooting.

The artists honored Taylor with multi-colored messages of praise including "brave," "love" and "courage," and at least one inscribed Taylor's name in a heart. Other message included “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them,” "#sayhername," "Breonna Taylor matters" and "United we stand."

Among those who drew on the sidewalk by the playground was Sheila Romero, 34, of Merrick, and her friend, Rachel Rosenzweig, 32, of East Rockaway, who said they have been to one protest every week since demonstrations broke out following the May 25 killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis. That death touched off a wave of demonstrations worldwide as protesters demanded an end to police brutality and racism and put a spotlight on other fatal confrontations with police, such as Taylor's.

“We’ve been going mostly to marches and protests, so it’s nice to go to something that’s thinking outside the box and getting creative,” said Romero. “Every time, for me personally, it feels like it’s one steppingstone into the right direction.”

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