AUSTIN, Texas – Saturday, July 13 will mark four years since Sandra Bland’s suspicious death inside a jail cell in Waller County. As such, July 13 will be recognized as Sandra Bland Day in Austin, Texas.
- Pulled over for failing to signal
- Died in jail 3 days later
- Sparked outrage
She was pulled over by former state trooper Brian Encina on July 10, 2015, for failing to signal. Bland was put in jail and found dead three days later.
Her death sparked outrage over how black women are treated in the criminal justice system, and the Sandra Bland Act passed in 2017.
Dash cam video from the police patrol car shows Bland being pulled from her car during the arrest for a Class C misdemeanor.
Cell phone video that was released in May 2019 shows what led up to an arrest.
The Community Advocacy and Healing Project held a movement at Huston-Tillotson University to celebrate her life while providing information on human rights.
Fatima Mann organized the event to celebrate Bland's life.
She often teaches others mindfulness and healing to be better advocates. Mann says one can attempt to put themselves in others shoes, to see the inequities and social injustices in different communities.
"Instead of just creating an experience where you learn about policy or laws or you march, you learn about how you check in with your body," she said.
Mann's advocacy began after the death Bland. It was seeing herself in Bland that put things into perspective.
"I just knew that it could have been me. I just saw myself and in seeing myself, I had to do something and I have been doing what I would want someone to do for me," added Mann.
Since then, she's kept her memory alive, holding anniversary events every year.
She also pushed for the Sandra Bland Act passed in 2017, which calls for jails to divert inmates with mental health issues into treatment and requires independent investigations of jail deaths.
Mann wrote several emails to city council to get the name proclaimed, which was announced by Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison at Huston-Tillotson University.
"It's an important reality, having this sort of representation. It matters," she said.