Breonna Taylor’s image and likeness will fund and support a select group of undergraduate and law students at the University of Louisville.
Amy Sherald, the artist who painted the image of the late 26-year-old for Vanity Fair is donating money from its sale to the University of Louisville, specifically for students with an interest in social justice. Sherald announced earlier this week earnings from the sale will start the Brandeis Law School’s Breonna Taylor Legacy Fellowship and the Breonna Taylor Legacy Scholarship
The painting was sold to the Speed Art Museum and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Sherald announced she wanted both cultural institutions to own the piece and required them to sign a co-ownership agreement for the sale to be completed.
The money will fund three fellowships and stipends of $9,000 for law school students with 60 or more credit hours who’ve secured a legal volunteer position with a social justice organization or agency next summer. Undergraduate students at the University of Louisville who show a commitment to social justice through an application essay will qualify for the Breonna Taylor Legacy Scholarship. The scholarships, worth $7,000 each, will be provided to one student in 2023, two in 2024 and three in 2025.
“Nothing can take away the injustice of Breonna Taylor’s death,” University of Louisville Interim Vice President for Community Engagement Douglas Craddock Jr. said in a release.
“But what we must do is create spaces where Breonna Taylor is remembered and where her legacy can inspire us to carry on the hard work of erasing inequality and divisiveness. Amy Sherald’s gift will have transformative power for the law school fellows and scholarship recipients who will benefit from her decision to use her artistic gift to help heal the corrosiveness of hatred and animosity.”
Taylor died at the hands of Louisville Metro Police officers in March 2020, who entered her home with a no-knock warrant seeking a man who did not live at the residence and was already in police custody. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, a legal gun owner, fired a shot toward the front door thinking someone was robbing the home. The cops returned fire with a barrage of bullets hitting Taylor five times and killing her.
None of the seven officers that were involved in the raid that killed Taylor were directly charged with her death. Louisville Attorney General Daniel Cameron only charged one of the officers, Brett Hankison, with wanton endangerment. A charge that carries a five-year sentence and a $10,000 fine. Three other officers were fired for their actions but were not charged. Taylor’s death set off the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement and protest.