Sandra Bland’s arrest after a routine traffic stop was a terrible injustice; her death three days later was a tragedy; the fact that no one will be held accountable is beyond comprehension but, unfortunately, all too familiar.
Yesterday, a Texas grand jury failed to indict any of the officers or jail workers who came into contact with Sandra Bland.
On Tuesday, July 10, Illinois native Sandra Bland, 28, was on her way to start a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A & M University. After being stopped for—the police officer claims—changing a lane without a signal, Sandra was arrested. Still in jail three days later, Sandra was found hanging dead in her cell, reportedly by suicide. However, there is strong reason to doubt the police’s claims. Sandra was in contact with a bail bondsman just hours before her tragic death.
How many more tragedies must we endure before we make real, concerted efforts to fix deadly policing practices? How many Black deaths are too many, and how many must go unpunished before we confront our broken criminal justice system?
Though each tragedy has exposed how Black lives are treated with less decency, less respect, and less humanity, little has changed. Police killed over a thousand people in 2015; 41% of the victims were Black. The government is still without a reliable system for tracking police use of force. And far too many police officers have gone unprosecuted.
As we reflect on the past year and look towards a new one, we need to recommit ourselves to fight for a world where innocent Black lives are sacred and not taken mercilessly, with impunity. This is our hope for the new year.
As we gird ourselves for the struggles ahead, we remember Sandra and the many other Black boys and girls who were betrayed by the system and stand in solidarity with their families.
Today, we #SayHerName and resolve to continue fighting on your behalf.