Demanding Justice for Sandra Bland and Introducing Revolution Nothing Less

July 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader in Texas:

Over two days last weekend, revolutionaries went to Waller County to take revolution and Rise Up October into the struggle for Justice for Sandra Bland, who was arrested on a traffic stop and died in police custody.

All Photos: Special to

Waller County vigil for Sandra Bland

Waller County

Waller County

Waller County

Waller County

On Sunday evening, a vigil for Justice for Sandra Bland was held on the campus of Prairie View A&M, an historically Black university. A crew of revolutionaries from Houston, wearing “BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less” t-shirts, and some SMIN members, marched in with the Stolen Lives banner. People had been sitting around, waiting for something to happen, and this bold action immediately changed the atmosphere. Many came up snapping pictures and wanting to know more. The press, too, focused in on the banner, and it became a fixture of the protest. One of the main organizers asked us to stand with it behind the speakers as a backdrop to the rally. Minister Robert Muhammad, the Southwest Regional Minister of the Nation of Islam, pointed to it in his speech. Everyone was intensely interested in the plans for #RiseUpOctober, eagerly taking flyers, and several contact sheets were filled up with names. Several copies of Revolution got out, and one older man who had been met the day before came looking for more copies of the Stolen Lives centerfold.

The tone of the vigil was a mixture of anger and a deep sense of loss. Every speaker expressed a determination that they will not rest until the truth comes out, and that this is a new generation ready to fight against injustice. They spoke to the inspiration they got from Sandra herself, who was an activist in the struggle. The crowd, overwhelmingly Black students, reflected this as well. There were also people from the community, and a group of mostly white people and their pastor from a Unitarian Church.

Sandra Bland was not some unknown young woman who fell victim to police brutality. She had deep ties on this historically Black campus. Several people spoke with bitterness about the fact that Sandra had done everything this system tells you to do, and still could not escape what it means to be Black in this country. Her friends spoke with courage through the tears. One woman spoke to how she has always been a strong young Black woman, how this had made her afraid for the first time, but that as long as she knows she is with others she will not be afraid.

It was brought out that Prairie View A&M is built on the land of the Alta Vista Plantation, where enslaved Africans toiled from “caint see in the morning, til caint see at night” to build up the wealth of this country. The legacy of that is still at work today, and a new generation is taking up the battle and asking questions that demand answers as to why this is going on and what it will take to put a stop to it.

A crew had come up the day before, and ran into mainly older folks who spoke bitterness of lifetimes living with the deep racism in these small Texas towns. Several of them kept in touch with us about plans in the area the next day, and joined the rally. People were eager to talk about the death of Sandra Bland, and to find out about the revolution. Several got copies of Revolution and gave contact information. One Latino brother gave a donation for everyone to get newspapers, but expressed skepticism that the revolutionaries, mostly white, would stick with the people: “What are you going to do when the police drive up? you are going to leave... you need to go to white folks. we already know...” He was also taken aback that we were atheists. At this, we took out the DVD of the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, and showed the clip, “Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?”. People moved closer to hear, and at the end of the piece the one who posed the question was nodding his head, pointing to BA, and said "I like this guy; I like this guy" . Another person said, ”this is very good, very good… they are killing us! they are killing us! Someone has to do something. I am with this,” and said he wanted to come out and protest.



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