'What Summer set their mind to do, Summer did.' Family of killed protester speaks out
Summer Taylor was killed early Saturday, July 4 when a person drove their car into a group of Black Lives Matter protesters on Interstate 5 near downtown Seattle.
Taylor’s family says Summer was a determined, passionate supporter of the movement and want them to be remembered as an ally of Black lives.
Dalia and Matt Taylor, Summer’s parents, spoke Wednesday in Dalia’s backyard in Seattle's Green Lake neighborhood. Dozens of different colored flowers and plants filled the area next to two photos of a smiling Summer.
“A burst of creativity, wit, and charm, with a heart of empathy,” Dalia described Summer.
Summer, who used non-binary pronouns, told their parents for weeks how important protesting for Black Lives Matter was and had been at many of the recent demonstrations.
“What Summer set their mind to do, Summer did,” Dalia said. “That is why I knew no matter how much I might want to ask them to stay safe during protests, they would just say, ‘Mom if you are Black in this country, it isn’t even safe to be alive.’”
Luke Taylor, Summer’s younger brother, said Summer was the kid in the neighborhood who always rallied together all the other kids and made sure everyone was in line when riding their scooters.
“At the time I didn’t think much of it,” Luke said. “But now I am very grateful that that was something that they were passionate about because it obviously translated to their passion later in life.”
Summer’s family says they were passionate about animals and had worked at Urban Animal clinic for several years. They had talked about going to veterinary school at Washington State University. On Wednesday Matt wore Summer’s sweatshirt from Urban Animal while speaking.
Matt Taylor said Summer was out protesting every day and he was afraid of them being arrested during protests, not injured or killed.
“I don’t think you can ever anticipate something like this happening,” he said.
Dalia said she had talked to Summer about safety but did not know they were going onto I-5 at night.
“I actually was afraid of them perishing and had conversations about that,” Dalia said.
The man accused of driving his car into Summer and the other protesters is being charged with three crimes including two felonies: vehicular homicide and vehicular assault. He’s currently being held in King County Jail on a $1.2 million bail. Another person, Diaz Love, is still being treated in the hospital.
The Taylor family wished not to speak about the case on Wednesday. Matt Taylor did say they had seen the reports about a King County Sheriff detective who’s being investigated for posting an insensitive cartoon to Facebook just hours after Summer’s death. The cartoon showed a truck driving through a group of people with the words "All Lives Splatter."
“I think that guy needs to be fired,” Matt said.
Dalia said the family has received an outpouring of community support since Saturday, with some people donating large sums of money to Summer’s GoFundMe charity account.
“Parents of children who have told me that Summer helped their child transition, or people tell me Summer helped change their life,“ Dalia said.
She says Summer will be remembered for their love and empathy for others.
“We want Summer’s passion as an ally to continue lifting up Black lives in Seattle and all over our country,” Dalia said. “There's a lot left to do.”