Loudoun County group funds scholarship in Breonna Taylor's honor

A Loudoun County community is coming together to honor the life of Breonna Taylor by giving back to young African American women who are pursuing careers in public service, much like Taylor was doing as an EMT. 

The 26-year-old was mistakenly shot and killed back in March by police while asleep in her own Kentucky home. Her death and that of George Floyd’s inspired a peace march in Loudoun County that soon led some community members to start a scholarship program in Breonna’s name. 

“Seeing our community coming together at a time when everything is so black and white and news is hard this was something that we all could get around,” said organizer Jeff Granger. 

Dozens of neighbors in the Willowsford community started donating, the non-profit Willowsford Cares sponsored it, and in just two months they raised $15,000 and three young African American women pursuing careers in public service are now being awarded $5,000 each, at a time when they need it most. 

“We’ve been going through a lot of hardships financially with loss of income for my parents, it was kind of discouraging because you know college is expensive. I thought we may not be able to go because we don’t have the money for it,” said Kayla Kelly. 

Kelly’s family has been hit hard by coronavirus. The recent high school graduate, and the youngest of 9 siblings, was hoping to pursue a career in criminal justice and this scholarship helps fuel that dream. 

“The scholarship is a blessing especially for my family, being able to really pursue what I believe in is really special to me,” said Kelly. 

Lawrenda Kafui Avowlanou is another young recipient. She is an only child from a single-parent household struggling to make ends meet after COVID-19 hit. 

“I had spent all my college money because I don’t have a job, and it’s just me and my mom,” said Avowlanou. 

She would be the first generation in her family to go to college pursuing a career as a clinical social worker, inspired by Brianna taylor. 

“She was pursuing a career, doing good, giving back... I would like to continue that legacy,” she said. 

At a time when racial inequality is front and center, this small community is proving that it takes a village. 

“Thank you so much, it may not seem like a lot, but it does so much for me and all those families out there that need it,” Avowlanou. 

Shayauna Selena Darrell was the third recipient of the scholarship. All applicants had to apply with a written essay. 

Granger says the community plans to continue the “Breonna Taylor Matters Scholarship” next year, with hopes of helping more girls.