Louisville, KY – Breonna Taylor’s home was the finish line for a 731 mile walk that ended just days before Christmas. Lavish Mack started the 7-week “Journey to Justice” on Oct. 31 at the intersection where George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis. Providing constant updates on social media throughout his cross-country hike, Lavish says his reason for the walk was to raise awareness about the hundreds of police killings that don’t make national headlines.
“Last year 1,007 people were murdered by police. How many do you know about? 10? Maybe 15? So what about the other 990 you never heard about?”Lavish Mack, Founder of The Journey To Justice Campaign
The Journey to Justice raised awareness about “less-known” cases by stopping in Milwaukee, Madison, Chicago and Indianapolis and meeting with families who had a loved one killed by police. As a part of the social campaign Lavish asked the families who were comfortable with being photographed or interviewed to allow him to share their story through the Journey to Justice social media page in hopes of building more awareness about their cases.
The 7-week journey eventually took a toll on Lavish physically requiring him to take a few days off. After acupuncture and other holistic treatment Lavish says he was able to resume walking.
“Everytime I was in extreme pain I just told myself it can’t feel nearly as bad as the pain that the families feel.”Lavish Mack, Founder of The Journey To Justice Campaign
Courtney Armborst accompanied Lavish on the 731 mile walk trailing him in a vehicle to ensure safety and provide shelter during inclement weather. At the end of each day she also provided transportation to the nearest hotel. But Courtney, who quit her job to participate in the Journey to Justice campaign, did more than just drive. She conducted extensive research about police killings across the country, reached out to more than a hundred of the families impacted and scheduled all the meetings with them along the way. She served as the point of contact for all of the families.
“Courtney was integral to the success of the journey. I don’t know if it would have been possible without her. She quit her job and had expenses. She met with all the families I did. She was more than a support system but a partner.”Lavish Mack, Founder of The Journey To Justice Campaign
Near Chicago, Indianapolis, and other parts of the journey instead of trailing in a vehicle, Courtney accompanied Lavish by walking with him. Walking herself a total of about 150 miles, on the days Courtney did not drive, they would get an Uber back to their hotel. “We had a system in place,” says Lavish. Together they walked 18-30 miles a day while staying in one hotel room for 3-4 days at a time. The pair would record their location at the end of each day to ensure they could drive back to it in the morning to resume the journey.
“I initially joined the Journey to give Lavish all my support. After researching these horrific stories and reaching out to the families it turned into something way more meaningful. It has been important for me to know their stories, struggles, and goals so we can better support them. They do not get the support the deserve so we need to move how they need us to because if anyone knows the truths it’s them.“Courtney Armborst, Supporter of the Journey to Justice Campaign
Crossing into Kentucky on Monday, Dec. 21, Lavish and Courtney were received by dozens of community leaders and activists who held a car caravan rally in solidarity with their journey.
On Tuesday, Dec. 22, the journey concluded at the home of Breonna Taylor where Lavish was greeted by the founder of Justice Squad, a project launched by Ashley Quinones after her husband Brian Quinones was killed by Minnesota police in 2019. Ashley, her son Cameron and the entire Justice Squad team served as partners of the campaign from its inception.
“I knew I could trust Lavish to center the families who lost loved ones by police and never lose sight of why he started walking in the first place. The movement wasn’t making space for the families so our goal was to shift the focus from activist ran organizations to family of the victims ran organizations and ways to contribute directly to the family you are out there fighting for.”Ashely Quinones, Founder of Justice Squad
As a follow up, Justice Squad will make a page on their website of every family that participated in the campaign so that continued support and awareness can be provided to each family that participated int he journey to justice.
Lavish wanted to be the first one to donate to Justice Squads efforts. “My hope was we would raise enough money to cover our expenses and the proceeds would be donated to Justice Squad,” says Lavish. However, the campaign did not raise as much as he had hoped.
Across multiple platforms the Journey to Justice campaign raised approximately $4,600 according to Lavish ($3,200 on GoFundMe, $1000 on Cashapp, $400 on Venmo.) He says this just barely covered the expenses of the 7-week journey.
Although the 731 mile walk is complete, Lavish says his journey for justice continues. He hopes to continue to be an advocate for families and will continue fighting until Police are held accountable when they kill someone.
Families that were met with along the Journey to Justice walk included:
Andrea Irwin, Mother of Tony Robinson
Josè Acevedo, Father of Joel Acevedo
Cecil Lyons, Brother of Ernest Lyons
Maria Hamilton, Mother of Dontrè Hamilton
Tracy Cole and Playreo, Mother and Brother of Alvin Cole
Latoya Howell, Mother of Justus Howell
Cynthia Lane, Mother of Roshad McIntosh
Pamela Wooden, Mother of Christopher Goodlow Jr.
Marilyn Hill, Mother of Demetrius Hill
Amity Dimock, Mother of Kobe Heisler
Ashley Quinones, Cameron Quinones, Mary Rosarii – Wife, Son and Mother of Brian Quinones
Mia Montgomery, Daughter of Lionel Lewis
Danielle Burns, Sister of Jamar Clark
Taren Vang, Girlfriend of Travis Jordan
Families who connected by phone during the Journey to Justice
Jay Anderson Sr., Father of Jay Anderson Jr. (Milwaukee)
Cynthia Lane, Mother of Roshad McIntosh (Chicago)
Darlene Cain, Mother of Dale Graham (Baltimore)
Families that were met with along the Journey to Justice who were impacted by other systematic injustices:
Tina, Mother of Travis Nogdy a community activist killed by gun violence in Louisville, Kentucky.
Ruth Cosby Taylor, Cousin of Michael Lang who was wrongfully convicted.
Kwame Shakur and Katrina Overstreet, Brother-in-Law and Sister of Cieha Taylor, a bi-racial woman missing from Tampa, Florida.