On the five-year anniversary of the death of Sandra Bland, community members gathered on Rotary Hill last night for a vigil in her honor.
Who Is Sandra Bland?
Bland was a Naperville native who was arrested in Texas and died in jail. Though her death was ruled a suicide, that cause of death was disputed by family and friends.
Family in Attendance
Bland’s sister Shante Needham also attended the event and said it’s frustrating to continue seeing black lives taken away while in police custody.
“We should not have to continue to add names to the say her name,” said Needham. “We should not continue to have to say black lives matter. All lives will never matter until the black lives are included. And that’s just that. We know all lives matter but you have to include the black lives in the all in order for it to matter.”
Other speakers discussed how Bland’s death is a part of larger systemic issues in the U.S.
“When I think about the systems still in existence today, the lasting remnants of shadow slavery and slave patrols and the union and working busting patrols, these are things that today we still have,” said the Black Alliance for Peace’s Nicholas Richard-Thompson. “They’re called your police force and they’re called the prison industrial complex. That’s what they evolved from.”
The vigil concluded with three minutes of silence while the crowd held up lights to honor Bland’s memory.
Change.org Petition for Sandra Bland Mural
The organizers of the vigil also created a change.org petition advocating for a mural in Naperville for Bland. That petition had collected more than 2,300 signatures at the time of publishing.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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