The influencer-heavy convention is getting blasted for being distasteful and overtly profiting off Taylor’s death.
Launching today in Louisville, the convention is being promoted with a “Beauty, Money, and Justice” focus, featuring a day-of-action, a pray-in, a Bre-BQ (?,) seminars on financial solvency, as well as free food and drinks for attendees. And while the event appears to have the blessing of Taylor’s family (along with slated appearances from the families of George Floyd, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and Atatiana Jefferson,) the convention is in the crosshairs of activists and social justice reformers alike for contributing to the trivialization of Taylor’s death through memes and merchandising opportunities.
Tamika D. Mallory, founder of Until Freedom (the organization behind BreonnaCon,) claims the intention of the event is getting distorted by critics. In a recent interview on The Rickey Smiley Show, Mallory attempted to clarify the platform and it initiatives. “We believe when we go into a community, it’s not just protests, it’s gotta be also helping to organize in that community and community service,” Mallory tells the show’s host. She adds, “We’re not people who get arrested and get their photo opportunity and not come back to the community.”
Still, there does seem to be some weight to the claims of critics. Promotional images for the influencer-heavy convention feature the faces of panel contributors with Taylor’s portrait as a backdrop. And organizers have reportedly ignored the call to rename the event from Black Lives Matter protestors.
BreonnaCon runs through this Tuesday, August 24th. You can see the full schedule below along with some of the critiques levied against the event.
BreonnaCon??? The influencers and “activists” are really gonna do an event named BreonnaCon?
The memefication of Breonna Taylor’s death is sick. Clout chasing in the name of “community”, when most of your actions are anti-Black. https://t.co/nMmkhmoGwz
— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) August 22, 2020
There’s a “free drinks before 11pm” quality about that BreonnaCon flyer. And the fact that she’s in the background like a ghost…
— Self-Expelled French Houseguest. (@thewayoftheid) August 22, 2020
They are seriously throwing breonnacon and having a “bre-b-q”??! I’m so disgusted. Worse yet, they’re not listening to blm Louisville or the others that have asked them to change the name. Explain to me how beauty and money gets justice for Breonna pic.twitter.com/Hq5WyBrjb8
— CallMeKateAgain (@callmekateagain) August 22, 2020
SATURDAY AUGUST 22
Free Farmers Market (9AM – 12PM)
Louisville Urban League, 1535 W. Broadway
BreonnaCon kicks off with our 2nd free Farmers Market and Food Caravan, providing food to 1500 families.
TaylorMade (1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
Vibes, 1346 River Road, Louisville, KY 40206
TaylorMade, a women’s empowerment event that will provide hundreds of local women with a specially-curated program led by Yandy Smith-Harris, founder of Yelle Beauty and star of “Love and Hip Hop” and Porsha Williams of “Real Housewives of Atlanta”.
Free The Guys/Bros for Breonna (2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
Free The Guys/Bros for Breonna, a men’s empowerment forum to transform, inspire and activate the men in Louisville. The program will include artists, athletes and influencers leading conversations centered on men’s health and wellness, strengthening the family, and community organizing.
SUNDAY AUGUST 23
Bre-B-Q (4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.)
The second day of BreonnaCon is centered on Black joy. The Bre-B-Q will be a community barbecue and concert featuring national and local artists and performers. The day will include games, a school supplies and book bag giveaway, music, dance, and much more for the whole family.
MONDAY AUGUST 24
Press Conference (11:00 a.m.) will include families of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Atatiana Jefferson, Ahmaud Arbery, Antwon Rose, Trayvon Martin, Pam Turner, and Botham Jean. Simmons College, 1018 South 7TH Street, Louisville, KY 40203
Organizing Boot Camp with Jasiri X, Rukia Lumumba, Pastor Stephen A. Green, Brea Tilford and more
Praise in the Park at The Waterfront with Pastor Tim Findley Jr., Rev. Dr. Bruce Williams, Rev. Stachelle Busse
Day three of BreonnaCon will include several workshops, training, and plenaries to prepare the community at large for the next day’s culminating event, a mass direct action. Labeled an Organizing Boot Camp, Until Freedom will host a series of teach-ins, and train local residents in community organizing, public policy, and civic engagement. They will also host plenary sessions featuring the families of victims of police violence, and local and national lawyers discussing the campaign to pass Breonna’s Law. The families of Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Atatiana Jefferson, George Floyd, Antwon Rose will all attend this session.
Monday ends with Church In The Streets, a spiritual experience connecting faith and freedom with faith leaders from across the state and nation. This “street revival” event will evoke the legacy of the Civil Rights movement’s mass meetings and feature local choirs and performers.
TUESDAY AUGUST 25
Good Trouble Tuesdays
BreonnaCon will conclude with a nonviolent direct-action training, followed by a massive demonstration throughout Louisville. With the application of Kingian Nonviolence, participants will escalate and amplify the urgent call for justice for this community.