Today marks two years since since Sandra Bland died.
The Prairie View A&M alum was found hanging in her jail cell three days after being booked following a traumatic confrontation with a police officer during a routine traffic stop in Waller County, Texas. Police later released dashcam video footage that appeared to have been edited, which shows Bland being arrested after questioning the officer about why he needed her to get out of her car when she was only pulled over for failing to signal a lane change.
The incident sparked outrage that only flared further after her death was controversially ruled a suicide.
But Bland lives beyond what happened to her. One of her lasting legacies lives in the form of the “Sandra Bland Act,” which passed unanimously in Texas this past May. The act requires county jails to send people with mental health issues and substance abuse concerns toward treatment and make it easier for people with mental illnesses or disabilities to receive a personal bond.
The law also requires any jail deaths to be formally investigated by an independent law enforcement agency.
Her family, however, announced they were disappointed with the bill, calling it a “complete oversight of the root causes of why she was jailed in the first place.”
But perhaps Bland’s strongest legacy is found in her mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, who has now moved to Waller County to support families experiencing racial injustice. She is using the $1.9 million civil lawsuit settlement to fund her new calling.
“It’s time for my journey here,” Reed-Veal told ABC News. “If I have to stay here forever, I will do that. I am on a mission.”
Today we remember and honor Bland’s life.
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