Watch Sandra Bland's Mother Give a Devastating Speech at the Congressional Caucus for Black Women & Girls

The Congressional Caucus for Black Women & Girls, an urgent convening of lawmakers, public figures, and the relatives of black women killed by institutional state violence, is currently underway in Washington, D.C.

The caucus, created by three black congresswomen, is intended to help create public policy that actually helps black women and girls in the U.S. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), and Robin Kelly (D-IL) were petitioned by the #SheWoke Committee, whose members include Sharon Cooper, Sandra Bland’s sister. In the video below, Bland’s mother Geneva Reed-Veal gives a powerful testimony that emphasizes plainly why the country needs immediate change to policy and treatment of black women and girls.

“Sometimes it’s rough,” she begins. “I don’t have a whole long statement to read. But I will say to you that I am here representing the mothers who are not heard. I am here representing the mothers who have lost children as we go on about our daily lives. When the cameras and the lights are gone, our babies are dead. And life goes on. So I’m here asking you to wake up. Wake up!”


Reed-Veal re-emphasizes that she does not believe Bland killed herself in a cell in Texas, and explains, chillingly, that her 28-year-old daughter’s body was “flown home in a capsule in the bottom of a plane with luggage on top of her.”

She speaks up for the six other black women who died in jail the same month as Bland, whose names, says Reed-Veal, are generally unknown to to the people around the country she travels to speak with.

“Am I angry?” she asks. “Absolutely. But I’m not angry enough to create a riot that will burn things down. But I will create a riot that will set it off, so that people will understand that this is real. Movements move. Activists activate. We have got to stop talking, and move.”

Read the full transcript here.

Video via Josh Begley on Vimeo.

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Meyer Lansky Sqarrs

Sandra Bland, Kindra Chapman, Joyce Curnell, Ralkina Jones, Alexis McGovern, Raynetta Turner and Gynnya McMillen are the names I could find. Of course, there have been others since then.

I’m fairly sure I’d seen Gynnya’s name recently, but I wouldn’t have been able to name any of them without looking. Except Sandra, of course.