Sandra Bland: Can saying a name conjure the dead?

Sandra Bland. This name is now in the process of becoming ingrained into the minds of millions of people around the world, who have become engrossed with this case. So much like the famous urban legends like Candyman and Bloody Mary, which scared so many of us as curious children- we tweet this name with curiosity and fear in our hearts.

For those who are not familiar with the story (or are strategically trying to avoid it) on the 10th of July 2015, 28 year old Sandra Bland was arrested by a police officer for a minor traffic and alleged assault violation. This video is a summary version of events being reported by mainstream media.

Three days later Bland was discovered in her cell, as what the police described as an apparent suicide. The details of the whole ordeal had as much credibility with the public as George Bush Jr becoming a country music star. The videos of the arrest and subsequent photos released of Bland after the arrest, were scrutinised by the public and crime experts alike, with theories that Bland was already dead in her mugshot on circulation on most social media outlets. This is slowly becoming a disturbing and chilling unravelling of a young woman’s death and another dent in the serious issue of police brutality.

In my opinion, I am completely appalled at the state of affairs in the USA (I won’t get started on other race/ religious based conflicts around the world, that’s for another blog post…) everything that has happened in the last few months and continues happening even behind the media glare, is no short of Evil. It is as if racism is having a sickening renaissance; the lives and achievements of the black community are being overshadowed and refocused on acts of violence. We are not moving forward as fast as we thought we were, in fact if anything, we are standing still.

We are now all standing in front of our mirrors saying the names of the dead hoping it will bring them back to life. #SayHerName is a virtual prayer for the cry for justice, for the loss of young lives all over the US. But just as we learned as we stood in our dark bathrooms in front of the mirror whispering Candyman three times on halloween, with our little hearts in our mouths; this does not conjure up the dead.

The reality is that this was a woman. As her mother so eloquently said to Reverend Sharpton in an interview: “When all this is done… I will still have a dead a baby.” Then proceeded to urge the community to “learn their rights” so that “this won’t happen again”. To this strong woman her daughter’s death is not a conspiracy theory but a loss that should never be repeated. Regardless of whether it was suicide or murder, Sandy as she is called by her family, is never going home.

With each hashtag and Instagram page mentions Sandra Bland, and all the women who have died in police custody, we are collectively trying to will justice on. Looking at police violence and racist bias dead in its face and speaking these victims names. So here is to the continuation of the search for the truth and the hope of justice for black lives everywhere.

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