‘Breonna’s Garden’ provides immersive experience in Central Florida

The augmented reality project tells the story of Breonna Taylor

A social justice exhibition is hoping to get results in Central Florida by telling the story of a Kentucky woman killed during a botched police raid through a new perspective.

ORLANDO, Fla. – A social justice exhibition is hoping to get results in Central Florida by telling the story of a Kentucky woman killed during a botched police raid through a new perspective.

“Breonna’s Garden” is a digital immersion exhibit that tells an in-depth, never-before-told story of the Breonna Taylor who was shot and killed by police in Louisville, Ky., during a raid on her apartment back in 2020.

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After the police broke the door off the hinges, Breonna’s boyfriend fired his gun once, striking a sergeant in his thigh.

Police responded by firing several shots, striking Ms. Taylor five times. One officer shot 10 rounds blindly into the apartment.

Her death and how it happened sparked protests nationwide, including here in Central Florida.

“Being able to be free in a place like this is unbelievable,” said Sasha LoveHiggins, who is a volunteer at Breonna’s Garden. She told News 6 the experience was emotional, comforting and inspiring.

Grace Wang completed the full immersion experience and described what she saw.

“I was surrounded by flowers. It was just gorgeous. The experience is really touching,” Wang said.

Messages from Taylor’s family are seen throughout the experience from each digital rose in the garden, which carry voice notes to family members giving testimonials in Taylor’s room.

People are transported to both areas in their augmented, or virtual, reality

“You can expect calm. A lot of people has an overwhelming sense of calm, of beauty, of peace, of tranquility,” Lady Pheonix, the creator of Breonna’s Garden, said.

Taylor’s family hopes this experience will shine a new light on who Breonna was as a human being.

“I like it for the fact this is about her herself and not her pain,” Taylor’s sister, Ju’niyah Palmer, said.

Palmer said the idea came when Lady Pheonix reached out after Palmer received death threats.

Originally the project was an escape for just the family, but it has now expanded to the world.

“I just want people to know is even if she didn’t know you, she loved you. It didn’t matter who you was, what you’ve done. She is going to love you regardless,” Palmer said.

While this exhibit is meant to be a place of healing, organizers say showcasing this exhibit here in Orlando means so much more.

“We’re here in Orlando. We came up to stand up for the rights of people who have been disenfranchised by the laws that are in place,“ Brenda Darden Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson leads the Grace Hopper conference, which brought Breonna’s Garden to Orlando.

She told News 6 the impact will reach further than the conference by giving a portion of the proceeds to local organizations and non-profits.

“The Florida Access Network and also the Zebra Coalition, so we are supporting. We’re standing for those who are fighting for our human rights,” Wilkerson said.

As for the creator behind the experience, she says she hopes people can heal and come together.

“We need to take time with each other, we need to take time to honor ourselves and to honor our loved ones,” Lady Pheonix said.

The exhibit has been sold out, but organizers said people can still experience it at home and learn more about Breonna Taylor’s story. An app is available to be downloaded on your mobile device.

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About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.