One year ago today, on July 13, 2015, the world learned that Sandra Bland died in a cell in the Waller County Sheriff’s Office Jail. The 28-year-old had been there for three days, under arrest for “assault of a public servant” after former Texas state trooper Brian Encinia pulled her over for failing to signal a lane change and violently escalated the situation.
We watched in horror when dashcam footage surfaced showing him point a Taser at her and threaten to “light you up” when she refused to put out the cigarette she was smoking in her own car. We shook our heads in disbelief when the coroner ruled her death a suicide by “self-inflicted asphyxiation.” We wept when the grand jury opted not to indict the jail staffers who failed to follow department protocol in attending Bland. We grieved for our collective future when we realized that she could be any one of us, singled out for being Black and knowing our rights. We marched when we remembered that police violence impacts Black men and women.
On this day, we continue to say her name, in hopes that one day, Black lives will actually matter.