SACRAMENTO, Calif — What happened to Taylor Blackwell?
That's the question family and friends of the 19-year-old college student have been asking since she was found dead in a Sacramento hotel room on Feb. 28. Now a group of Taylor's friends, known as Team Taylor Made, are asking people to take a photo with a poster that says, "What happened to Taylor Blackwell?"
Erinee Carson, Taylor's best friend, said they hope the social media campaign will bring more attention to Taylor's case.
"If you see it enough, you're going to wonder what it is... [and] see why so many people are concerned about this one thing," Carson said. "We hope to make Taylor that topic people are concerned about today."
Berry Accius, founder of Voice of the Youth and She Could Be My Daughter, brought the idea of the social media campaign to Team Taylor Made. Accius has been arranging demonstrations across Sacramento to bring attention to Blackwell's case and demand answers about her death.
"I believed this would be a way to incorporate a protest via social media, a way to galvanize the networks and resources of others locally and nationally to create awareness about Taylor Blackwell," he said.
Trinity Williams, Taylor's close friend, came up with the hashtags #WhatHappenedToTaylorBlackwell, #JusticeForTaylorB and #JusticeForTaylorBlackwell shortly after Taylor's mom, Chiffon Buckner, shared a Facebook post begging for answers about her daughter’s case. Williams said flooding social media with posters and black and white pictures set a tone of stability for the #TaylorMade movement.
"Not only can we be powerful on foot but in social networking. We just want the word out," Williams said. "Everyone needs to be wondering what happened to Taylor Blackwell on Feb. 28 because what actually happened? We are tired of living in question and doubt."
Carson said the group questioned whether they had the strength to fight for their beloved friend.
"Are we mentally OK to do this," Carson asked. "We've been put through the ringer for the last four months. We've been stressed, not sleeping for four months. Do we have the energy to do this? Can we do this? We loved her so much that we at least had to try and we did."
Williams said they've been fighting for justice in the streets for almost four weeks.
"This is OUR [sic] Black girl and we will never stop fighting for Taylor Blackwell. She’s left pieces of her with me," Williams said. "Taylor has helped me with so much in my life and built up my character and demeanor when I was weak. I am truly 'Taylor Made.'"
"Taylor Made" was a nickname Buckner gave to her daughter, according to Williams. Buckner said she's grateful for the encouragement she's received over the last five months.
"Thank you to everyone that has supported me in every way," Buckner said.
What Happened to Taylor Blackwell?
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Taylor Blackwell, 19, was found dead at WoodSpring Suites Sacramento on Feb. 28.