say her name: Breonna Taylor. now say his name: Amir Locke

Before 7:00 a.m. last Wednesday, February 8th., 22 year old Amir Locke was sleeping soundly, wrapped in a comforter on a couch inside a Minneapolis apartment. A police bodycam video shows SWAT team police officers entering the apartment at that moment by quietly turning a key to unlock it, bursting through the doorway yelling Police! Search Warrant! One of the officers kicked the sofa where Locke was sleeping. Locke, a Black man, seemed to be startled and tried to sit up while holding a gun he had legally purchased for protection in his work as a driver for a food delivery service in the Minneapolis/St.Paul area. A few seconds later, Amir was shot and killed by policemen serving a no-knock warrant – but not for a warrant against Amir.

Sound familiar? It really should. Next month, March 13th., marks the two year anniversary of the murder of Breonna Taylor, the 26 year old Black woman killed by police in her own apartment in Louisville, Kentucky. Ms. Taylor was an Emergency Room tech for the University of Louisville Health. Three police officers fired 32 bullets in the early morning raid that killed Taylor, hitting her six times.

Jury selection has begun this week (two years after the fact) for Louisville Metro ex-police officer Brett Hankison on charges of wanton endangerment because he fired recklessly during the early morning raid into Taylor’s neighbor’s apartment where three people were inside. He also fired 10 shots into Taylor’s apartment, but his bullets were not the ones later identified as killing her.

No one has ever been charged in Breonna Taylor’s death.

Marisa Lati in an article in The Washington Post on February 03, 2022 writes “Ben Crump, an attorney for Taylor’s family, said the three felony counts of wanton endangerment against Hankison should be the lowest charges among many in the case. ‘The trial of Brett Hankison recalls the inconceivable lack of justice for Breonna Taylor,’ he said in a statement. ‘It is hard to comprehend that this is the only criminal trial to emerge from the botched no-knock raid that took her innocent life and subsequently shook the nation.’ ”

Reporting by Sara Burnett of the Associated Press on February 05th. states Amir Locke had recently filed paperwork to start his own music business and was leaving Minneapolis to move to Dallas next week to be closer to his mother. Locke’s family said he had no previous criminal record. Amir was born in the St. Paul suburb of Maplewood, grew up in the suburbs where he played basketball in middle school and tried out for the high school football team but a broken collar bone ended his athletic career. Music became his passion, he loved hip-hop and “speaking about the realities of what’s going on in the neighborhood,” according to Andre Locke, his father.

February is designated Black History Month, and the clouds that cover me today are for these two young people who should have been contributors to that history but whose names now become reminders of the ongoing lack of equal justice and systemic racism instead. Amir Locke. Breonna Taylor.

Hear their voices as Oprah explained the remarkable cover of Breonna Taylor for the September, 2020 issue of Oprah Magazine:

 “For the first time in 20 years, @oprah has given up her O Magazine cover to honor Breonna Taylor. She says, Breonna Taylor. She was just like you. And like everyone who dies unexpectedly, she had plans. Plans for a future filled with responsibility and work and friends and laughter. Imagine if three unidentified men burst into your home while you were sleeping. And your partner fired a gun to protect you. And then mayhem. What I know for sure: We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice. And that is why Breonna Taylor is on the cover of O magazine. I cry for justice in her name…”

Today on this 08th. day of Black History Month I also cry for justice in Breonna Taylor’s and Amir Locke’s names, two young people who made history for the wrong reasons but whose legacy will forever be linked to the struggles for justice for all Black people everywhere. Say their names.


Stay safe, stay sane, get vaccinated, get boosted and please stay tuned.

Stay safe, stay sane and stay tuned.

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in family life, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Reflections, sexism, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to say her name: Breonna Taylor. now say his name: Amir Locke

  1. cindy knoke says:

    I have a sense of despair that we are going backwards as a species, destroying our planet, each other, and all other creatures, as if evolution has stopped, and is now devolving. My daughter, mother of my two grandsons said to me, “It seems as if the planet wants to shrug us off.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wayside Artist says:

    On the tail of this comes the Supreme Court allowing Alabama to gerrymander voting districts to hinder blacks from voting. What a truly disgusting legacy GOP jurists are writing for themselves.
    Yes, say their names. Acknowledge their murders. Do better America.
    Amir Locke
    Breonna Taylor

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bob says:

    This sickens me. The police bust into a house, unannounced, breaking down doors, and the occupants try to protect themselves from this home invasions and are murdered for doing so.
    If it wasn’t the police doing this, the perpetrators would be rotting in jail for these crimes.
    And, again I ask, when was the last time you heard of this happening to a white person.

    Amir Locke.
    Breonna Taylor.
    I will stand for you since you can no longer stand for yourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

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