Sandra Bland Parkway [Photograph]. Retrieved via http://wallercountynews.blogspot.com/ on 4-18-16.
Photo: Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle
Photo: Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle

Last summer, the country witnessed the mysterious death of Sandra Bland. Bland was an African American woman who was stopped by a state trooper in Prairie View, Texas. What started as a simple traffic stop for an improper lane change somehow ended with 28-year-old Bland in a jail cell, in which she was found dead three days later. The death was ruled as a suicide, but Sandra’s mother and loved ones encouraged us all not to believe that Sandra would commit suicide, saying that she was too confident and sure of her future to end her own life. Bland’s death rose awareness, yet again, to police brutality with minorities.

Now, a year later, University Drive, the street where Sandra Bland was first stopped by the state trooper has been renamed “Sandra Bland Parkway.” A ceremony was held in honor of the unveiling of the sign. In attendance were about 100 activists, students, and Bland’s relatives including her mother and sisters.

It’s not about just Sandy,” Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, said to the crowd. “It’s about other women and men who’ve died at the hands of officers who’ve sworn to protect them.”

Alum of Prairie View, Aida Fall, reflected on her emotions on the street name change. “I love hearing my GPS say ‘make a left on Sandra Bland Parkway,” she said to a cheering crowd.

Despite the amazing turn out, Frank D. Jackson, mayor of Prairie View did not approve of the ceremony. The night before the name change, Jackson allegedly sent out an automated call to residents saying that the event had been cancelled. He reportedly felt as though it would give off a mixed message as some residents did not approve of the name change. Even with that being said, the show went on, and not only has there been a name change, but there has also been space set aside for the future site of “Sandra Bland Park.”

Rest in Peace Sandra Bland.

 Written by Rahkiya Brown

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