Why Bernie Sanders Said 'Sandra Bland'

Bernie Sanders, Sandra Bland

Why Bernie Sanders Said 'Sandra Bland'

Democratic candidate keeps #SayHerName promise at debate.

Published October 17, 2015

A quiet moment at a Washington, D.C. restaurant is keeping the late Sandra Bland's name resounding.

According to Yahoo! News, Google searches for Bland surged after Bernie Sanders mentioned her at the first democratic candidates' debate Tuesday. He was asked via Facebook, “Do black lives matter, or do all lives matter?” 

“Black lives matter,” he said. “The reason those words matter is the African-American community knows that on any given day, some innocent person like Sandra Bland can get into a car and then three days later she’s going to end up dead in jail.”


Sanders, who has been repeatedly interrupted by Black Lives Matter activists during his campaign, met Bland's mother not long before the debate. It was completely unpublicized happenstance, reports pastor/blogger/#BLM activist Rev. Hannah Adair Bonner, who introduced the two.

Bonner was dining with Bland's mother Geneva Reed-Veal, when she spotted Sanders. She approached him and asked if he would like to speak with her. He obliged and then promised to #SayHerName. 

“He did not impose upon Ms. Geneva to ask for a picture of his own. He did not use the moment as an opportunity to promote his campaign,” Bonner later blogged. “He took no record; he made no statement. He did not try to turn it into a publicity stunt." ... "He simply made space for a sacred moment and then let it pass without trying to gain anything from it,” she continued via Twitter. “For that, I respect him. For that, I am grateful. That choice may not have made him a very good politician, but it made him a better man.”

Sanders also recently mentioned Bland during an interview with Ebony magazine about pay equity, raising the minimum wage and recidivism, among other topics. “Clearly, if Sandra Bland, who was a middle class Black woman, had been a middle class White woman, it is unlikely that the police would have treated her in the same way,” he said.

BET Politics - Your source for the latest news, photos and videos illuminating key issues and personalities in African-American political life, plus commentary from some of our liveliest voices.

(Photo from left:  Scott Olson/Getty Images, Courtesy of Bland family)

Written by Chay Liberté


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