Houston Protest vs. Refusal to Indict Jailers in Sandra Bland's Murder

December 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From readers:

Hermann Park, Houston
Hermann Park, Houston (Photo: Special to revcom.us)

Within 24 hours of the December 21 announcement of the Waller County, Texas grand jury’s refusal to indict anyone for the murder of Sandra Bland (see “No Indictments in Modern-Day Lynching of Sandra Bland: “I’m infuriated, and everyone else should be infuriated as well”), about 50 fired-up people came out in a drizzle to Houston’s Hermann Park to express their outrage. Along with various organizations National Black United Front, Stop Mass Incarceration Network, Brown Berets, New Black Panther Party, Occupy, Out of the Flames of Ferguson, NOI (Nation of Islam), there were high school and college students, some people from the neighborhoods, some fraternity brothers, revolutionary communists, and at least one individual who knew Sandy personally. For some, this was their first protest.

Our crew brought a large stolen lives banner, which drew a number of people up close. One woman, studying the faces on the banner of those murdered by police, said that she used to be afraid, but things have gotten so intense that now she’s beyond the point anymore of feeling fear.

After a brief rally on “the hill,” we marched, reciting chants like, “Sandy Still Speaks! No Justice No Peace!,” to the zoo, where there was a holiday celebration going on. We rallied again at the zoo entrance. A lot of families were there with their kids. Many of the onlookers were shocked out of their holiday spirit, and a few stopped to watch. One young Black woman rushed by with her two very young sons, saying that she had to worry that they might be next.

A young white woman, apologizing that she had to catch up with her friends, explained how, first, the death of Sandy Bland, and now, the utter contempt for any semblance of justice, just made her feel sick. A number of people wanted to find out more about how we can end this situation and got copies of Revolution newspaper.

One person spoke about how now is not the time for celebration when there has been no justice for Sandra Bland, and for the countless other people who have been murdered by police. At one point one of the speakers challenged the crowd, asking which side they are on. He said that he is on the right side of history—“What about you?”

A pastor who had been at a vigil outside the Waller County courthouse the night before denounced the arrogance of the sheriff and the police there—smirking in their confidence that there would be no indictments.

A student had organized a bunch of her friends to come to the protest. Looking at the front page of Revolution (which shows the faces of the main presidential candidates with the headline “They Have No Answers, The Revolution Does!”) she said, “Yeah they don’t have any answers for this.”

One youth said that he doesn’t think protest is enough, and asked what the revolution is about? He pointed at the police laughing as they blocked the protest, and said that they have no feeling for people, so what is it going to take to stop all this?

There were different political programs in the mix, from writing to elected officials, to self-defense, to revolution. One woman who had come up to the stolen lives banner said that this is about more than the police: the system has to change. One guy said that it’s good people came out, but we got to go deeper than this. He wanted to know what kind of society we could have after the revolution.



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