Say Her Name: The Life and Death Of Sandra Bland Coming December 2018

In 2015, Sandra Bland, a politically active 28-year-old black woman from Chicago was arrested for a traffic violation in a small Texas town. Three days later, Sandra was found...

In 2015, Sandra Bland, a politically active 28-year-old black woman from Chicago was arrested for a traffic violation in a small Texas town. Three days later, Sandra was found hanging from a noose in her jail cell. Though ruled a suicide, her death sparked allegations of racially-motivated police murder and Sandra became a poster child for activists nationwide, leaving millions to question, “What really happened to Sandra Bland?”

Ten days after Sandra’s death, filmmakers, Kate Davis and David Heilbroner began working closely with the family’s legal team, tracking the two-year battle between Sandra’s aggrieved family and Texas authorities. With disturbing, never-before-told details about the case, the film is punctuated by Sandra’s own passionate and moving commentary.

Approximately 30 “Sandy Speaks” video blogs, which Sandra created herself, allowed the filmmakers to get to know Sandra Bland in a deeply personal way. Via these videos, Sandy herself emerges as a central voice in Say Her Name — an empowered, enlightened woman of color whose sharp, humorous, charismatic remarks address subjects from educating kids about black history to police brutality to the importance of natural hair.

Say Her Name takes viewers deep inside a story that galvanized activists across the country.


Don’t be afraid to fight for justice.
Opening the panel, Sharon Cooper, Bland’s oldest sister, encouraged the audience to: “put action to your passion and don’t be scared.”

Sandra’s middle sister, Shavon, shared a similar message: “When we do these Q&As, people are frustrated and feel clueless to a certain extent.” Shavon advised the crowd: “Go fight in your way. If this film affected you, you need to go be the peace in your community.”

Heilbroner, who left his job as an assistant district attorney in New York City to pursue documentary filmmaking, spoke of his own experience. “I was so frustrated with the inability to bring justice. The system is just fundamentally prejudiced against people of color and with lack of means,” explained Heilbroner. “When I looked into who Sandy was, she left this incredible, unbelievable record discussing the forces that brought her down.”

“We all become elevated if we can help tell the story of someone who has been treated unfairly by society,” expressed Davis. “We need to fight for whoever that person is.”

Take the responsibility of creating change.
Attorney Lambert discussed how during proceedings police de-escalation training was left out of the now passed Sandra Bland Act, against his and the family’s wishes. “The legal proceedings are over, but it’s never going to be over for them or us. We all feel a part of this,” said Lambert. “Ultimately, the bigger issue is to be something to look at and charge ourselves with responsibility of doing something.”

Davis marveled over the strength of Sandy’s voice and what she left behind. “She left a legacy of thoughts that were ahead of her time about crossing divides and working together and listening to one another — even with people you think is your enemy,” recalled Davis. “If we put up walls, we aren’t going to change as a society.”

Cooper closed with an urgent call to action. “We all need to work together if we want change. Vote, vote, vote and vote. You do not have the right to complain if you did not cast your vote,” said urged the crowd. “Vote and hold these folks accountable for what they said they were going to do.”

Lambert echoed the point. “If it’s in the conversation it can be done,” he said. “How can you exercise power? When you pull that lever, that’s power.

Catch on HBO, Dec. 3, 2018!

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