‘Keep her name alive’: Bowling Green citizens march to honor Breonna Taylor, protest Anna’s Greek Restaurant


Arthur H. Trickett-Wile

City Commissioner Carlos Bailey speaks about no-knock warrants at BG Freedom Walkers second “Keep Breonna Taylor’s Name & Legacy Alive” protest and march on Monday evening, Jan. 23, 2023 on the steps of Anna’s Greek Restaurant In downtown Bowling Green, Ky.

Bailey Reed, News reporter

Bowling Green residents met at the Warren County Public Library to march in honor of Breonna Taylor, as well as her legacy, and protested in front of Anna’s Greek Restaurant on Monday, Jan. 23.

The event was hosted by the Bowling Green Freedom Walkers, a non-profit who aims to “Stand up for Black lives,” and “Stand up for all human rights,” according to their Facebook profile. 

Approximately 25 Bowling Green community members were in attendance. They carried signs paying homage to Breonna Taylor, which they ended up displaying as they rallied in front of Anna’s Greek Restaurant.

This protest came as a response to Anna’s Greek Restaurant hosting the Republican Women’s Club of South Central Kentucky who subsequently brought Jonathan Mattingly, a cop involved in the Breonna Taylor case, as their guest speaker. The Bowling Green Country Club previously dropped the event as they learned of its intention to give Mattingly a platform, thus opening the opportunity for Anna’s to host. 

Protest speakers spoke to the character of the owner of Anna’s Greek Restaurant, Vilson Qehaja. 

“This is about a prominent Bowling Green employer and his blatant disrespect of Breonna Taylor, as well as her surviving family, friends, and colleagues,” Aaron Preuett, 28, said. Preuett said he was a former employee of Anna’s Greek Restaurant.

City Commissioner Carlos Bailey, who has served from 2021 to present, spoke on the nature of no-knock warrants in Bowling Green. 

“It’s not about Black or White, but we do understand that there is systematic racism that occurs in the first place, but it is mainly about human decency,” Bailey said. “We did meet with our local police and they were agreeable to basically have no no-knock warrants. So today, in Bowling Green Kentucky, since last February of 2022, no-knock warrants are not a thing here.” 

Local citizens explained why they came to support and protest. 

“How can somebody be asleep in their apartment and get shot and they didn’t do anything, and someone gets away with it,” Regie Babb, a Bowling Green resident, 61, said. 

Similarly, Kenny Greene, another Bowling Green resident, explained his anger at the events that occurred at Anna’s. 

“I was infuriated that the cop, Jonathan Mattingly, was here and given a platform to promote his book and make money off the death of an innocent girl,” Kenny Greene, fellow Bowling Green resident, 67, said.

Bowling Green Freedom Walkers members Karika Nelson and Summer Shannon also spoke to the importance of the event.

“Of course we always want to keep Breonna Taylor’s name alive,” Shannon said. “She doesn’t have a voice because she was murdered. She can’t speak for herself, so we have to make sure we keep her name alive, her legacy alive, and that we stand up for what’s right.” 

News reporter Bailey Reed can be reached at [email protected].