Rep.-elect Cori Bush from Missouri decided to wear a mask with Breonna Taylor’s name on it at the Capitol during the orientation for new members. But she was shocked when some of her Republican colleagues apparently had not heard of the 26-year-old who was shot and killed by police in Kentucky eight months ago. Some thought that the name on the mask was hers and called Bush “Breonna” throughout the day.
Bush, who is Missouri’s first Black congresswoman, first posted a photo of herself on Twitter wearing the Breonna Taylor mask with the caption: “Change does not come from this place unless we bring it here ourselves.”
A little more than three hours later, Bush wrote that “a few of my Republican colleagues” assumed Breonna was her name. “It hurts,” she wrote. “But I’m glad they’ll come to know her name & story because of my presence here.” The killing of Taylor sparked months of protests and her name became ubiquitous during protests across the country against police brutality and systemic racism.
Talking to reporters later in the day, Bush said it was “hurtful” to be called Breonna and made clear it was not an isolated incident. “I didn’t hear it once, I didn’t hear it twice. I heard it several times,” she said. Bush expressed shock that people elected to represent Americans could be so oblivious about what is happening in Black communities. “This has been national news for a long time,” she said. “People have protested in the streets with this name, and it just saddens me that people in leadership, people that want to be in leadership, don’t know the struggles that are happening to Black people in this country.”