Breonna Taylor’s death draws new life in the form of funds for the academic dreams of undergraduates with interests in social justice and law students at the University of Louisville. Amy Sherald, the artist who painted a portrait of Taylor is donating money from its sale to the institute, WLKY reported.
Taylor became one of the catalysts behind the racial uprising of 2020, when the 26-year-old EMT of Louisville was killed during the execution of a no-knock search warrant on March 13. News of her death during the botched raid followed the publicized videos of the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.
In the demand for justice, Taylor’s likeness appeared on the covers of O Magazine and Vanity Fair the same year. While the O Magazine issue drew attention because it was the first time in 20 years where Oprah wasn’t featured on the cover, the Vanity Fair cover featured a portrait painted by renowned artist Amy Sherald. Sherald is best known for painting the official portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama.
The Speed Art Museum and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History (Washington D.C.) joined forces to purchase the artwork; it sold for $1 million.
The University of Louisville announced Sherald will be donating the money to the university’s school of law.
According to UofLNews, the money will fund the Brandeis Law School’s Breonna Taylor Legacy Fellowship, giving law school students with 60 or more credit hours, who secure a legal volunteer position over the summer with a social justice nonprofit organization or agency, now have a chance to secure a supporting stipend of $9,000.
Applicants are also required to demonstrate a commitment to social justice as evidenced by an application essay.
The first fellowships will be awarded in summer 2023.
In statement from Sherald, she said “I have created this trust to help unblock the challenges historically faced by students pursuing the work of social justice and public service while attending the University of Louisville.”
The painting of Taylor will return to her hometown and will be displayed for public viewing at the Speed Art Museum during Spring 2023.
In February 2022, a jury found the now former officer Brett Hankison who reportedly fired the shots not guilty of wanton endangerment for endangering Taylor’s neighbors by firing bullets into their residence.
No one has yet to be charged for Taylor’s death.