On Saturday morning (July 25), the funeral for Sandra Bland, the Black Lives Matter advocate who was found dead in a Waller County, Texas jail cell just days after being arrested in Texas, was held at the DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church in Lisle, Chicago, Madame Noire reports.
The funeral was a celebration of Sandra’s life and her fight against police brutality and other injustices affecting people in the Black community. Before the service Rev. Theresa Dear told NBC News, “Our service will be one of celebration. We’ll be celebrating the life of Sandy Bland. We have much to celebrate. We’re happy that she found her voice, found her purpose in social justice. We celebrate that she walked and lived in her truth.”
Hundreds were in attendance at the 28-year-olds service, and hundreds more tweeted their condolences and support to Sandra’s family. New York Times op-ed columnist Charles Blow, who was also present at the funeral, tweeted his thoughts about the service.
“#SandraBland’s funeral was celebratory and defiant,” he wrote after posting pictures of her full obituary.
As previously reported, Sandra Bland’s tragic story started on July 10, after a minor traffic offense turned into a major civil rights violation. While making her way to a new job at her alma matter, Prairie View A&M, Bland was pulled over by a Texas State Trooper for failing to signal a lane change.
Things quickly spiraled out of control when the trooper asked Bland to put out her cigarette, and she refused. The officer (unlawfully) arrested Bland for “alleged” assault, claiming she was “combative” during the encounter. Video of the arrest quickly went viral online, where she can be heard yelling, “You just slammed my head into the ground! Do you not even care about that? I can’t even hear,” before being forced into a police car.
Following her arrest, Bland was placed in a Waller County, Texas jail over the weekend, but was scheduled to be released that Monday on $5,000 bond. However, Bland was found dead in her cell Monday morning.
Bland’s death was ruled a suicide by asphyxiation by the Harris County Medical Examiner. However, her family suspect foul-play and ordered an independent autopsy on July 19.
“#SandraBland‘s fam rep told me she knew bail money was on the way, that she would be getting out the next day,” Charles Blow tweeted in reference to the family’s suspicions that Bland was murdered. “One reason they doubt suicide.”
The family’s independent autopsy report is still pending, but Miss CM will keep you posted on the results. #RIPSandraBland