Breonna Taylor at a graduation ceremony in Louisville. Taylor was a full-time ER technician at the time of her death last year. | Wikipedia

Black West Siders who are trying to get certified as emergency medical technicians can apply for $1,000 Breonna Taylor EMT grants.

Taylor, the 26-year-old ER technician from Louisville, was fatally shot inside of her apartment last March by plainclothes police officers conducting a raid after having obtained a no-knock warrant. 

Ta’Rhonda Jones, the co-founder of the Black Village Foundation, a community development nonprofit based in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood, said her organization established the grants in order to honor Taylor’s legacy.  

“Breonna Taylor’s death was deeply disturbing,” Jones said. “This EMT grant was our way of honoring her legacy by showing our appreciation for her dedication to service.” 

Dr. Sabha Abour, another co-founder of the foundation, said ensuring that more African Americans become EMTs would help address racial disparities in access to emergency medical treatment. 

“This grant is important because it gives an additional resource to black students who are striving to save lives in a primarily white field,” she said. 

“Having diversity in healthcare, especially in predominantly black communities, is crucial to decreasing treatment disparities. A study out of Oregon in 2018 looked at EMT treatment disparities and showed that African-American patients were 40 percent less likely to get pain medication than their white counterparts regardless of their health insurance status. That’s not OK.”  

Two grants are available to Blacks who live on the South or West sides and are either already in an EMT certification program or will enroll in one this spring. The grant is part of the nonprofit’s larger drive to distribute $100,000 in grants to South and West siders by the end of 2021. Specific West Side communities that are eligible include Austin, West Garfield Park, East Garfield Park and North Lawndale. 

“We specifically chose certain communities, because increasing access to wealth in areas that have been deprived by government policies is crucial to the success of those communities,” Abour said.

The EMT grant applications are open until Feb. 28. Abour said that they also plan to provide grants for South and West side residents who are trying to get certifications in other fields, such as commercial driving, food handling and culinary arts. She said the organization will release more information on those grants in February.  

To apply for the EMT grant, visit

Igor Studenkov is a winner of multiple Illinois Press Association awards for local government and business reporting. He has been contributing to Austin Weekly News since 2015. His work has also appeared...