WATCH: Sandra Bland’s Mom Speak Before the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls

By Kenrya Rankin Apr 29, 2016

In March, three congresswomen created the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, which seeks to create policy that improves the lived experiences of Black women in America. Yesterday (April 28), the caucus held a symposium titled “Barriers and Pathways to Success for Black Women and Girls,” which examined the current state of its constituents.

The event featured many speakers, including Melissa Harris-Perry of the Anna Julia Cooper Center and Beverly Bond of Black Girls Rock!, but the standout speech came from Geneva Reed-Veal. She is the mother of Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old Black woman who died in a Texas jail after being violently arrested last summer.

She made it clear that she does not believe that her daughter committed suicide, talked about the importance of speaking up for all of the women of color who die in prison and pushed those in attendance to take real action:

I don’t come here playing games with you all. I don’t come to sit and be a part of a caucus where we talk and do nothing. … Movements move. Activists activate. We have got to stop talking and move. So I leave you with this: it is time to wake up, get up, step up or shut up.

Watch video of the short but powerful speech above, or read the transcript on