Tuesday, August 04, 2015

"Say Her Name" Solidarity Action

Last Friday night, my friend Joan and I participated in a solidarity action in downtown Minneapolis hosted by the Black Liberation Project and in honor of Sandra Bland and other women of color who have recently died in police custody.

Sandra Bland was found dead in a Waller County, Texas jail cell on July 13, three days after being arrested by Officer Brian Encinia during a stop for a minor traffic violation.

Writes Ashoka Jegroo in her July 29 article about Bland's mysterious death:

Police claim that Bland hanged herself, but Bland’s family and many activists have expressed doubts that she would commit suicide and suspect a murder and cover-up by police. Bland had just moved back to Texas in order to start a new job on August 3 at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University.

When dashcam footage of Bland’s arrest was made public, activists also expressed outrage at how Officer Encinia treated Bland during the stop and the subsequent arrest, commanding her to put out her cigarette and pulling her out of her car when she refused to do so. The released footage also included many obvious visual glitches, such as images being repeated and cars randomly disappearing, which led to claims that the video was edited and leading to even more suspicion of the police story.

The case has since put a spotlight on many other suspicious deaths of people, particularly women of color, while in police custody. Bland’s advocacy and involvement with the Black Lives Matter movement has also galvanized many other members of the movement to put more focus on police violence committed against black women. But for most people following the case, the main question remains the same: What happened to Sandra Bland?

Related Off-site Links:
Supporters of Black Women Gather to "Say Her Name" – Bill Sorem (The Uptake, August 6, 2015).
FBI Joins Investigation Into 'Unfathomable' Death of Sandra Bland – Nadia Prupis (Common Dreams, July 17, 2015).
Five Black Women Have Been Found Dead in Jail in the Last Month – Terrell Jermaine Starr (AlterNet, July 29, 2015).
The Assassination of Sandra Bland and the Struggle Against State Repression – Ajamu Baraka (Common Dreams, July 22, 2015).
Across the US, Activists Shine Light on Sandra Bland's Mysterious Death – Ashoka Jegroo (Waging Nonviolence via Common Dreams, August 1, 2015).
Sandra Bland’s Sister Responds to Suicide Allegations, Lawyer Says Waller County Withholding DetailsDemocracy Now! (July 24, 2015).
Black Liberation Project Says Members Were "Brutalized" While Filming Cops – Michael Rietmulder (City Pages, July 31, 2015).
White Police Officer Indicted for "Senseless" Murder of Sam DuBose in CincinnatiDemocracy Now (July 30, 2015).
Police are Killing Native Americans at Higher Rate than Any Race, and Nobody is Talking About It – Matt Agorist (The Free Thought Project, August 2, 2015).
Yes, Racism is Rooted in Economic Inequality – Seth Ackerman (Jacobin, July 29, 2015).

UPDATE: One Year Since Sandra Bland's Death, 800+ More People Have Died in U.S. JailsDemocracy Now! (July 14, 2016).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
In Minneapolis, Rallying in Solidarity with Black Lives in Baltimore
At the Mall of America, a Necessary Disruption to "Business as Usual"
Rallying in Solidarity with Eric Garner and Other Victims of Police Brutality
Quote of the Day – June 19, 2015

Images: Michael J. Bayly.

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