In a surprising move, Sandra Bland’s family has asked social media to stop posting about the death of their sister. The request was made via Sigma Gamma Rho’s website, a Divine 9 sorority founded in 1922 on the campus of Butler University in Indiana, a predominantly White institution.
The organization posted this message from the family via their website:
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. is deeply saddened by the death of our sorority sister Sandra Bland and we wish to express sincere condolences to the family. We will continue to keep the family in prayer at this very difficult time. The family of Sandra Bland has made several requests which we ask all to honor: We are requesting that all refrain from posting social media messages about this matter. This would include, but not be limited to creating hash tags, developing petitions or creating comment threads. The family is requesting that we do not participate in any protests or marches. We ask that no comments be made or actions taken. This is an ongoing investigation and while we would like answers quickly, we understand that it may take time to get them. We are anxious because we know that every family deserves answers when a situation results in the death of a loved one. We will respect the wishes of the family and take no action at this time.
While there has been no other comment from the family, it may be just that they are searching for truthful answers to what happened to Bland and don’t want any distractions from the media. As we’ve seen in the Michael Brown, Eric Garner and other high-profile cases, they can easily become polarizing and negative situations.
The Chicago Tribune has reported that Bland, a Naperville, Illinois native who was in Texas to take a temporary summer job at her alma mater Prairie View State University, had been charged and fined for misdemeanor marijuana possession and had her license suspended three times due to lack of insurance.
She was also stopped on suspicion of a DUI and was placed under supervision. They also report that Bland was active in her high school and college communities among other things as a high school track athlete, cheerleader and honor student.
It is also being reported that both the Waller county sheriff and the District Attorney have had documented cases of racism in the past.