Sandra Bland speaks for herself

September 3, 2015

From the September-October 2015 issue of News & Letters

Editor’s note: Sandra Bland, who died in police custody in historically racist Waller County, Texas (see Editorial, “Evolving Black Lives Matter movement”), recorded a series of videos in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Below we print brief excerpts. Having watched her speak in her own words, seeing her innate generosity, humor, her passion for justice, one can only echo the words of Marsha Warfield: “I wish I had known of her while she was alive.”

Sandra Bland Picture credit:

Sandra Bland
Picture credit: JusticeForSandraBland/photos/pb. 702879029816703.-2207520000.1440885132. /702883516482921/?type=3&theater

Jan. 14, 2015: Through “Sandy Speaks” we are going to open up a gateway for the kids. To start educating them about interacting with police. I don’t think it’s ever too early, in all honesty, because our kids are so smart. They can only know how to feel about cops based off of how they see cops acting.

Laugh all you want to, say what you want, but I’m here to change history and I’m ready to do what I need to do for this next generation. It’s time for me to do God’s work.

We can stop sitting around and saying, “Oh well, maybe next time.” Or “Oh well, we knew that was gonna happen.” It’s time to stop knowing that that was gonna happen, and it’s time to start doing something.

Feb. 5, on American Sniper and Selma: My question is, why is such a violent movie still at #1? We are promoting violence. Selma, a movie about a real war, got pushed by the wayside.

Civil rights? That was a war right here at home. This fight for civil rights still goes on right now. We are still in that fight today. So please don’t think it’s over because it’s not.

Feb. 15, after visiting the DuSable Museum: Chicago played a big role in post-slavery times. The tour today shed light on how deep Black history is in America.

As a Chicagoan there were some things I found out I never even knew. Chicago was founded by a man of color, DuSable. The first open heart surgery, performed by Daniel Hale Williams, that was right here on the South Side at Provident Hospital. Some of our greatest entertainers, Redd Foxx, Nat King Cole, they attended high school right on the South Side.

Our history is so rich and deep, but it is up to us to find it and share it. Without Black people there would be no America. Let’s make it plain. Without us there is no you.

March 30, after being harassed by security guards at Naperville Mall: To the people who say, “Oh, you were breaking the law, wrong is wrong, the law doesn’t see color,” excuse my French, but bullshit! You can’t tell me the law doesn’t see color when we have situations like the gentleman in Virginia getting his face stomped in the ground.

So for those who can say, the law doesn’t see color? It doesn’t see color because you ain’t got no color in your skin.

My white friends, don’t get upset, but I’m going to call out racism wherever I see it. You don’t know racism, because you don’t live it, you don’t feel it. You’re going to learn that what you see as just somebody doing their job, we see the undertones of that. We’ve been trained to see them because we live them every day. I wonder, if I had been walking through town with my poster from last week—”All white people are not against us”—would that have gotten me kicked out of the mall?

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