Calls To Boycott Kentucky Derby Picking Up Steam

July 21, 2020

Several organizations are calling for fans and companies to boycott the Kentucky Derby in the wake of Breonna Taylor’s death, as the investigation continues.

The echoes of a few groups are being heard loud and clear in the way of asking fans and companies that sponsor the Kentucky derby to turn their backs on the crown jewel of the Triple Crown.

The sentiment among these groups is “No Justice, No Kentucky Derby”. A group called Fighting For Justice has been contacting several sponsors that are synonymous with sponsoring the mega event year in and year out to opt out of supporting the Kentucky Derby.

Fighting For Justice is asking those to pull funding and sponsorship to the Kentucky Derby so that it can be used to donate to their group in an effort to assist in supporting their cause. Here is the letter being circulated on the boycott request.

To whom it may concern: 

As the rescheduled Kentucky Derby Festival approaches; It was brought to our attention that your company has decided to be a sponsor of the Kentucky Derby Festival events. 

Our state is known for the Kentucky Derby. It brings crowds of people together from all over the world to remember and celebrate our states horse racing heritage. But at the moment, our state is more widely associated with injustice. 

The state of Kentucky is currently in a state of unrest due to the killing of Breonna Taylor. She was an innocent young Black EMT woman that was killed in her home by Louisville Metro Police Department on March 13, 2020. The details surrounding this case are heartbreaking. They have inspired our local community and millions around the world to make a stand against injustice. It has been almost four months since Ms. Taylor was wrongfully killed and there has been very little released and/ or resolved. Millions worldwide have continued to patiently wait out the thorough investigation as requested by Daniel Cameron, the conducting Attorney General. But as a concerned community, our patience is running thin. 

As a community, we want to showcase to the country, the globe that we have not forgotten Breonna Taylor, that we do not agree with the injustices tied our cities name. We believe that putting on one of the largest festivals in the state is doing that. The Kentucky Derby Festival is being used to distract and sweep Breonna Taylor under the rug. We are asking you to reconsider your sponsorship. 

We understand that the Kentucky Derby may be a very beneficial collaboration for your company. We do not wish to hinder your company in any way but we believe right now is not the time for a celebration. 

Boycotting the Kentucky Derby and its events will put some much needed pressure on the state to complete the investigation and give the family, the local and worldwide community closure and most importantly justice for Breonna Taylor. 

If a complete removal of sponsorship is not feasible for your company at this point, please take a stand with us by publicly bringing our fight against injustices to the forefront. We encourage adding statements to your websites, visual or audio blurbs to your advertisements, as well as creating a blackout logo(a predominantly black and white color scheme)for all of your sponsorship placements. Also consider donating or hosting an event to support the cause. 

Until this issue is addressed and justice is served we will take a stand and not support the biggest monetary event in Kentucky. Our goal is not to forever cancel the Derby, we are just demanding answers and justice before we sip on mint juleps and put on our pretty hats. 

Please reconsider your sponsorship of the Kentucky Derby Events. We hope that with your support we can bring about swift reform and justice to our city. If we work together, we can really have something to celebrate as a whole community next year. Together let’s show the world that Kentucky will not stand for injustice. 

We ask again that you use your voice and sponsorship for the greater good this year. We urge your company to take a stand with the community in Boycotting the Kentucky Derby until we receive answers, reform and justice. 

“History has its eye on you”. 


Fighting for Justice 

The Justice and Freedom Coalition is also asking locals to boycott the derby as well. One of the coalition members, Tim Findley doesn’t believe it’s right that the show goes on in Louisville and that the local economy would be getting a financial boost during the current climate of inequality among the Black community as well as global pandemic.

Findley is also a pastor at Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center in Louisville. Will fans turn their backs on the fastest two minutes in sports or will the show go on? This remains to be seen. Even more interesting, how will the large companies that sponsor the Kentucky Derby respond. Organizers believe that putting financial pressure on the state of Kentucky will bring more attention and awareness to support the cause.

Be Sure to check out our horse racing news page for more up to date news.

Contributing Authors

Nick D’Agostino

Nick grew up In upstate New York near Saratoga. This afforded him the benefit of being able to embrace the ambiance  of the premier summertime...

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  1. Jul 21, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    How about instead of punishing the hard-working people in the horse racing industry, they do a moment of silence in honor of Breonna Taylor and all the other ladies who have lost their lives? Or even better do something to support Black Lives Matter like hand out buttons or maybe have the whole day of racing dedicated to Black Lives Matter.
    If you boycott the Kentucky Derby then you had better boycott the Super Bowl and other high-profile sports.
    I’m sorry that Ms. Taylor had to lose her life in such a tragic way. I think that the police officers that were involved need to be charged with murder and let a jury of their peers determine their guilt.
    My personal feelings are that every person deserves to be treated equal. I hope that someday soon that this sentiment will be true.

  2. Jul 22, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    First of all, I am weary of the distortions spread by some Activists
    as they attempt to manipulate public perceptions of events.

    Breonna Taylor was NOT an EMT; she was at one time,
    but was not when she was killed.
    That is typical of the distortions
    which people use to inflame public opinion.

    But she was also consorting with known drug dealers,
    and still letting one – a former boy friend – use her home for deliveries.
    She put herself at risk, in that regard.

    Secondly, Brionna Taylor’s race had nothing to do with getting shot
    when her boy friend chose to break the law and fire through a door
    at people indiscriminately, without even knowing who they are.
    You cannot claim self-defense in a situation like that.

    He SHOT A COP.
    The cops are going to fire back without taking any time to figure
    out if it is a Black person or a white person who fired at them.

    Any white person who acted violently and recklessly in that situation
    would risk being gunned down also.

    Not only that, but her boyfriend LIED about what happened.
    He said they were IN BED.
    But she was killed in the Hallway.

    In terms of police brutality, I don’t blame the police for returning fire.
    How much is reasonable is another question which departments need to think about.

    Evidently somebody in authority feels that at least one officer
    was negligent in his actions.

    That is fine, and if he was, then he should be punished appropriately.

    But that is a matter for the Legal System in Kentucky to handle, and there
    is due process to be followed.

    The only thing Racist about this case would be if the Police Officer
    was given extraordinary prosecution – if not persecution – in the case simply
    because of the race of the person who was shot….
    and that is what activists are seeking to achieve.

    However, it is true that there is a pattern of cops killing innocent people,
    and there being no charges, as happened with John Adams, in 2001 in Tennessee:

    Mr. Adams’ family at the time did not feel that race played a role in the shooting.

    However, I can see why it would be hard for his family to not think that it played a role
    when the Cop responsible was put on trial and acquitted.

    The fact is that cops rarely get charged no matter WHO gets killed.
    And they almost never get convicted, no matter WHO gets killed.

    The sad and disgusting case of Daniel Shaver – who was shot while on his hands and knees begging for his life –
    is proof of how brutal police can be.

    But nobody mentions that Shaver was WHITE, and cops also kill white people either by mistake or negligently,
    and they get away with it.

    It is NOT simply an issue of RACE,
    and the Black community and its allies needs to stop treating each and every
    bad thing which happens to Black folks as a Racially mediated event that justifies tearing this country apart.

    There is no justification – legal or moral – to hold the Kentucky Derby
    or the racing industry liable for Taylor’s death, nor to make them responsible
    for putting pressure on the government to take action in any specific legal case.

    That is totally self-serving and self-centered of the people making these demands,
    but once again – it is fairly typical of the Sense of Jihadic Entitlement which makes such activists
    believe that THEIR special cause must be given priority over ALL the other needs and rights
    of American Citizens and corporations and businesses.

    This needs to stop.

    There is no epidemic of Violence being perpetrated against Black people, either by police
    or by white people in general.

    Police shootings of unarmed Black people have declined since the levels of 2014.
    “Only” 15 unarmed Blacks were shot in 2019.

    Regardless of the percentages, deaths like that of George Floyd are unacceptable,
    regardless of the race of the victim.

    This entire country was outraged by the death of Floyd, and there was no need to
    turn it into a Racial incident, and no need for over 25 additional people to DIE as a result
    of the ongoing and increasingly violent protests, which have no goal other than to
    damage this nation during a time of crisis.

    Why should this country have to endure 25 MORE DEAD PEOPLE so that certain Marxist activists
    and revolutionaries can demonstrate their power at bringing the world to its knees?

    I am hoping that the Kentucky Derby will be ONE example where somebody capable of
    acting and thinking like an Adult will draw a line in the sand and refuse to be blackmailed or intimidated.

    It’s awkward saying that, given the obvious historical connections between the Derby and Slavery.

    But that is a separate issue, which the Horse Racing Industry has been working on, for quite some time,
    as has the State of Kentucky.

    This is NOT communist China nor Russia.

    Bands of unelected revolutionaries should not be allowed to rove around and destroy key elements of American Heritage simply
    by inflicting their own moral values and tastes upon the rest of the country.

    This needs to stop.

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