Many people know that Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old black woman who died in police custody, was a Black Lives Matter activist. The firestorm around the country after she was found hanging in her Waller County jail cell three days after she was arrested during a routine traffic stop was unprecedented — many of the nationwide outrage over the loss of black lives so far has mainly focused on men, not women. But the mysterious circumstances around Bland's death has brought a lot of (deserved) attention to her case. Bland posted several videos online talking about the Black Lives Matter movement, but there's one video of Sandra Bland talking about creating change that make you pause and reflect upon the life of one amazing and inspirational woman.
Bland posted a series of videos on Facebook with the hashtag #SandySpeaks, including a four-minute long one where she talked about how black people know that all lives matter, but she wanted other people to understand that being a black person in America is hard. But in one specific video, it took Bland only 30 seconds to give an inspiring call to action. This one video, as some has pointed out, is hard to watch. Watching her talk about how you yourself can change this world will bring you to tears.
It's time, y'all. It's time. It's... This thing that I'm holding in my hand, this telephone, this camera, it is quite powerful. Social media is powerful. We can do something with this. If we want to change, we can really, truly make it happen. You know, we sit out here and talk about, "Oh, we need the next so-and-so and this and that." No you don't. No you don't. Start in your own home. Start with you.
It's a short speech that hits close to home. It's easy to sit behind your computer and wait for someone to take the stand, wait for someone to become the face of the movement. Bland recognized that and took the steps to try and tell the world that if each and every one of us stood up for change, that's the best place to start. But while I'm grateful that this video can now be seen by the millions and possibly inspire at least one person, it's a travesty that it took Bland's death for it to make the impact it deserves to make.
Bland's sister Sharon Cooper issued a similar call to action in an MSNBC interview, asking viewers to do one simple act: to use social media for good. If you want to help Bland's family, all you need to do is tweet, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat about Bland. You can use the hashtags #SayHerName, #JusticeForSandy, #JusticeForSandraBland, and #WhatHappenedToSandraBland.
And before you think that you shouldn't write that tweet or shouldn't post the video on Facebook, think again. Don't forget the words of Sandra Bland in her video, as she said change starts with you. Start with you — and say her name.