HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) — Sounds of joy filled the air outside the iconic Laugh Factory in Hollywood on Friday, as hundreds gathered to dance, sing, hug, and connect during a peaceful protest to celebrate the life of Breonna Taylor.
Taylor, an emergency medical worker, was asleep in her Kentucky home just after midnight on March 13 when police entered with a search warrant in a drug investigation and opened fire, killing her.
Friday would have been her 27th birthday.
“The goal is to commemorate Breonna Taylor on her 27th birthday,” said the protest’s organizer, Sade Sellers. “Her murderers have not yet been arrested, so our message, very clearly, is to arrest her murderers and give her justice.”
Protestors spanned several blocks, holding signs and spreading a message of love to honor Taylor.
“The mood out here is just so peaceful,” Sellers said. “It’s so loving. Everyone is just here to celebrate Breonna…I can’t express how warm my heart is seeing everyone come out for her today.”
The Laugh Factory aided Sellers in organizing the demonstration, lighting up its LED marquee to read “Justice for Breonna Taylor,” and offering bathrooms, refreshments, and more to the crowd.
“Because it’s the right thing,” said Laugh Factory VP, Enrique Salazar. “Jamie Masada being an immigrant…myself being an immigrant… we’ve felt our own prejudices in our own lives.”
In addition to a DJ, the gathering also hosted a traveling truck called The Conversation Truck, which has been traveling to protests across the county to help amplify black voices and let people “tell their stories. Tell their hurt, tell their pain, tell their uncomfortable views of white privilege.”
The truck’s operator, Alyssa, said she’s been at protests every day, handing the mic over to those who need a voice. While protests have remained largely peaceful across L.A., Alyssa said that the gathering to honor Taylor radiated a different energy.
“It’s a bit more uplifting, I will say that,” she said. “I’ve been to every protest. Every single day, we’re out here. This is a movement, and you can feel it. It is powerful.”
Demonstrators said they were in it for the long haul, hoping to continue to protest until they see real change.
“We know when MLK was assassinated, they protested for 300 days,” said Aisha Marshall.
During the protest, a memorial of roses and signs popped up along Sunset Blvd to honor Taylor.
“I think it’s just horrible to see this happen to anybody,” said Cassidy Salvitt, who organized the memorial. “Something needs to be done.”
Sellers said that, since there is no longer a curfew in L.A. County, protestors will be at the corner of Sunset Blvd and Laurel Ave. until the sun goes down.
Their goal is to honor Taylor by continuing to fight for justice.
“We need justice, and we need it now,” she said. “She would have been 27 today…she should be here celebrating her birthday, and she is not. It is a privilege a lot of us get to have to celebrate our birthday. I will never take for granted celebrating another birthday in my entire life.”