By Alexandria Williams
The city of Grand Rapids will be renaming Monroe Center Street NW, Breonna Taylor Way in commemoration of the late Breonna Taylor.
Taylor was an EMT, originally from Grand Rapids, killed by plainclothes police officers after they carried out a “no-knock” search warrant at the wrong address. One of the police officers was charged with wanton endangerment, for firing his weapon blindly.
A local non-profit, Justice for Black Lives, put forward the idea in Sep. During the initial meeting to discuss the designation, the commission received overwhelming support for the new sign and voted unanimously to approve the action on Oct. 13.
The project will be paid for by Justice for Black Lives, for the cost of both the sign and future upkeep. Justice for Black Lives commented “We are in a crucial part of history right now, we are all trying to do our part to change what is broken.”
In addition to that, they are pleased that the sign is being placed at the street connected to Rosa Parks’ Circle as it means that there will be an area of downtown that is focused on Black women.
The sign will be placed beneath the Monroe Center street signs and will be a different color to reflect its commemorative status.
“For me I don’t want it to be performative. I want it to be a recognition,” said Commissioner Milinda Ysasi.
Ysasi wants people to know that work needs to be done with race issues in Kent county point to the shocking statistic that 1 in 6 Black children in Kent county interacted with the homeless system while only 1 in 130 white children did. She also expressed that this commemoration was more than performative.
Monroe Center will remain the official name of the street. This is only a commemorative name change, which is largely ceremonial. Mail should still be addressed to Monroe Center. Nine other streets in the city currently have commemorative names.
To volunteer or donate to Justice for Black Lives contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.