We Know What Happened To Sandra Bland.

Since her mysterious death inside a jail cell on July 13th, 3 days following her arrest after being pulled over for failing to signal before changing lanes, activists have set the internet ablaze demanding to know #WhatHappenedToSandraBland.

But “what happened to Sandra Bland?” isn’t an honest question. We already know that an unlawful arrest caught on tampered video and garbage bags strong enough to hold the weight of a grown woman in the air by her throat with the weight of the world on her shoulders, too, and routine inmate checks that went undone don’t really add up to the tale of a woman who deserved to die that was woven for us. I don’t mean it’s rhetorical, though; it still demands a response.

Sandra Bland was killed by White Supremacy. We know this, but her death requires that we scream this truth from rooftops and never stop. Her body was choked or her mind was choked to death by white oppression and anti-Blackness – not just in that moment, but choked for the 28 years she spent on this earth alive. Before she was snuffed out for good.

Sandra Bland was killed by White Supremacy. She told us how it was killing her. She told us how it was draining her spirit. It just so happens that her body was taken away from her, too, but she was dying anyway.

Sandra Bland was killed by White Supremacy. I’m sure she resisted. We saw the flame in her. We saw her battling White Supremacy in Facebook videos and posts. When that officer asked her if she minded putting out her cigarette – her flame – she told him she did. She told him she did not have to put it out while she was in her car. She should not have to dim her fire while she was in her world. But White Supremacy insists that she must.

Sandra Bland was killed by White Supremacy. Even if it was her ghost that caused the inconsistencies in the dash-cam video after hanging herself by a garbage bag made of the strongest of plastics – even if cops don’t ever lie when it comes to Black people dying in their custody – even if she dealt with a depression that truly was too much to bear – her suicide would be the work of a system that insisted on her death, whether she died and still walked the earth afterwards or not.

“What happened to Sandra Bland?” is that she refused to be complicit in an oppressive system and the system fought back.

“What happened to Sandra Bland?” is that she couldn’t breathe since Eric Garner couldn’t breathe since Emmett Till couldn’t breathe.

“What happened to Sandra Bland?” is that White Supremacy murdered her.

It’s hell bent on murdering all of us, all the time, if we, too, refuse to stay in our place. If we become too uppity and assert our right to light a cigarette in our car – to sell one on the street and live to tell the tale.

Or if we don’t. If we wear our pants up high and our ties ironed. If we preach non-violence and dream of unity. If we ignore it.

White Supremacy is killing us all, no matter what we do. We have to know and name what happened to Sandra Bland and commit to making sure it doesn’t keep happening. We have to #SayHerName, but we have to say its name, too, and tell what it does.

It murders. Ruthlessly. Constantly. It killed her. It’s killing us. It’s not enough to know. It’s not enough to defy. Now we have to fight.

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  1. So true. And so wonderfully said. May her soul rest in peace.

  2. I agree with your article…

    They are demonizing Sandra…
    we have predominantly and finally legalized marijuana medicinally more or less and they are misrepresenting the facts of the herb to demonize her (further) and to justify murder. That they found it in her system means nothing. It is not the same as alcohol or other drugs and actually has a natural limit to it’s “high”. You can not over dose on pot for example. The pharmaceutical industry can not say as much. They placed a woman in jail and gave her a police record which would restrict her future employment opportunities… and hold her hostage to an indentured servitude. And all for not using her turn signal. She heard a cop car behind her and pulled over to let him pass, (without signaling which I have done for cops… too, just to get out of the way) but he was after her because he was racist… He violated all of her rights. F**k not arguing with cops because we can’t trust them. What kind of rhetoric is that? They are hired to protect and serve the public. And Sandra had PTSD and they are blaming her for her trauma and subsequent self-protection when triggered by their violence. They murdered her even if she committed suicide. They pushed her off the “cliff”. They took away her life for a turn signal. There is no excuse the militarized police can use… they assisted her to suicide.

    • A friend of mine once said – “when they kill you, they kill you twice. First they kill your body and then your character”. They do this every time. We know they do it and we know the truth.

      • Hi being woke,

        yeah, your friend was right…

        And the thing about the cops trying to kill Sandra’s character by highlighting her PTSD and marijuana use, “should” backfire on them. Because the current information from doctors is that marijuana is the best medicine for people who suffer from PTSD. It is being used for veterans. The nation hasn’t caught up state to sate, but it soon will be. So stigmatizing her due to her mental health is only more wrong. It makes the police more wrongful, not more justified in the excessive use of force… It suggests the police are not being trained for their jobs to handle the needs of the population and that includes sensitive people like Sandra.

        Marijuana also stays in the system longer and so can’t be tested for in the same manner as alcohol levels. The police should not be able to use this against her as a test of her ability of sobriety. She wasn’t pulled over for the appearance of influenced driving. It was for not using a turn signal. So digging into her past about any of her personal issues is a desperate act by the cops… (if not criminal in and of itself) to protect a system that began as a corrupt system founded on racism and prejudices and so it can not be simply “tweaked” to make it right when these murders happen. And even with so many police in the wrong… the policy makers need to stop scapegoating the cops… The cops are an army… they are following someone’s orders higher up…

        Plus, the first prisons in history were originally began for “debtors” so what that means is: being poor is being a criminal… I feel this is what they are ultimately upholding and maintaining. They want a slave system. Prisons are for profit.

        I hope my response to you wasn’t too long, but I appreciate your comment and input.

        I hope we can work to preserve Sandra’s “character” and not allow the police to use “reefer madness” propaganda as a tool to destroy a good woman. She didn’t do anything so wrong.

  3. Stop

    Sent from Longshore co

  4. This is saddening but you’re right, we have to do something about it- but the question is: what should we do? In this country, it’s like we’re damned if we do something and we’re damned if we don’t do something.

    • Hi Iammakiya, maybe it doesn’t matter when we are damned if we do or don’t. Maybe at that point it liberates an individual to simply do…

      You (we) don’t have to worry about the “whole country” so that the feeling of overwhelming helplessness stops you (us) from “doing”.

      This author is making a difference by providing a forum to correct the facts and make room for the facts and to preserve the memory of a human being who mattered. And still matters.

      Don’t stop doing what’s right in the face of overwhelming odds. That’s my take away. 🙂

  5. May she rest in peace. I love that your page page is so honest and raw. Looking forward to checking out some of your older work. I nominated you for the Liebster Award. You can check out the post here: https://lifeofarisingphoenix.wordpress.com/2015/07/24/liebster-award/.

  6. Today I read a white man write about how the police officer was acting legally, but unfairly. My blood boiled and heart ached. Thank you for putting into words what I want to say but don’t have the energy to say.
    In solidarity.

    • A lion is murdered and the nation weeps. A creature, that if given the chance would have fed until its heart was content, was hunted and slain all for the sake of what? The White Male Ego? And America was outraged, let me clarify, White America was outraged. Yet the numerous and unlawful deaths of Black youth and adults somehow goes unmourned. The lives of fellow Americans taken at the hand of so-called American justice, does not matter. “All Lives Matter” so long as they are not colored lives. So long as they are not kinky haired and consumed by melanin. They try to take our cause from us and universalize it but they refuse to universalize justice. Instead they focus on the lion. We have always been the lion. We have always been hunted and wounded and tortured for White Ego. But we are not mourned. Instead we are mocked. Instead we are demonized. Instead we are painted into the hunter as opposed to the hunted. We are the lions of America. Sandra is the lioness that some officer wanted to put on his mantle as a prize. They weep for animals more than they will ever weep for people. We know what happened. We always know what happened, even if the details are unclear. Even if there tapes are erased or destroyed. We know what it means to be hunted for sport. Without consequence. Without a tear shed for us by this country. The lions understand. Cecil understands. And thats sad.

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