The Facebook event invite read:
“August 9th will make 1 full year that Michael Brown Jr. was killed and the BlackLivesMatter movement begun. So, in Remembrance of Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland………and so many others we are asking that you respond, Aug 9th at Waller County Jail! Respond!
Justice For Sandy”
So, a group of 3, including myself, braved the extreme Texas summer heat and trekked down to Waller County, where only weeks before, a woman named Sandra Bland was taken in to the county jail by police officer Brian Encinia, and never made it out alive.
The thing that remains interesting about the whole scene is that although there were 250 + people gathered in the parking lot of the jail, not one officer or barricade was set up. We could easily walk into the jail lobby, around the back, and up to their annexes at will. The stark thing is that the jail is tiny in comparison to the Houston & Huntsville jails I had visited before which makes it hard to believe that Sandra Bland went unnoticed long enough to hang herself in her jail cell- which is the story that we have been told about how she died.
The faces present confirmed that #BlackLivesMatter to many people of all walks of life. That, unlike pro-confederate flag & Republican presidental nominee rallies, this movement and gathering of people was colorful and translated across class/race/creed.
All Real Radio livestreamed the entire event via periscope (facebook, twitter, & instagram @allrealradio), which included powerful speakers from the Nation of Islam, #BlackLivesMatter organizers, NBUF, Out of the Flames of Ferguson, Truth 2 Power activists, and poets. Each organization had it’s own agenda- some asking for a complete boycott of ‘anything Waller County’ & a call to help PraireView students in the area not have to patron anywhere that doesn’t support Anti-Police Brutality initiatives – some asking that the officers involved with the unlawful arrest and death of Sandra Bland be fired – and others simply calling out the names of those lost to police violence reminding the crowd to never forget and always uplift the names and souls of those that we have lost senselessly.
The program and march that happened were all peaceful with those present using their bodies to let the world know that we are paying attention in Texas. We are a red state, but we are not all the same closed-minded cowboys mass media would have the rest of the world think. And, after the march was over and the livestream stopped, my group greeted and thanked some and went along- We found out about an hour later that some protesters had decided to enter the jailhouse and chant – and that the officers then attempted to detain some of those gathered- ending with 1 elder being hurt. I can’t comment on the purpose of that move, but I can say that I understand the frustration people feel from being ignored and disregarded. I understand the pain of another sister, daughter, and friend being lost without good explanation. We want to know what happened to Sandy and we want to let all police know that it cannot happen again without a bigger backlash- like those we see happening currently in Ferguson & beyond.
Sandra Bland could have been my best friend. In many ways, she is my best friend because she embodies so many aspects of those I build with, love, and respect. She understood the importance of social media and being the media- which means that if she would have known about All Real Radio, I believe, she would have loved it & she would have been like so many other socially -responsible comrades that inbox us about how we speak what they feel in their hearts to power through our airwaves often. Shoot, #SandySpeaks could have been a commentator, writing where I now am. And so, may she never be forgotten & may the racists, power sick, and lying officers of this County, Country, and world be brought to due justice- whatever the people decide that looks like.
Yes, #SandyStillSpeaks – may she rest in power.
A strong voice in Houston’s poetry scene, dee!colonize brings an in-your-face social commentary to the mic. Over the past 6 years, this Xicana has connected with several artists & activists to bring the message of revolution & community consciousness to the stage. She has hosted at the 1st & 2nd Annual East End Festival, and has read for and organized benefit shows and events dealing with the abolition of the death penalty, an end to police brutality, empowerment of women, immigration rights, black/brown unity, and indigenous pride. She is the Director of Operations for All Real Radio LLC.