As some people deny its relevance and/or existence, Black Twitter continues to raise its voice.
The social media phenomenon took center stage earlier this week with the comical reminiscence of #GrowingUpBlack, but the latest trend amongst black Twitter users was not as fun to read. After the mysterious death of 28-year-old Chicago native Sandra Bland in her cell at Texas’ Waller County Jail, a harrowing new hashtag gained popularity: #IfIDieInPoliceCustody. As questions loom over whether Bland died at the hands of police or her own alleged suicide, those wary of the not-so-stellar track record of police officers took to Twitter with their 140-character final messages in case they were the next to lose their lives.
Bland was stopped by officers on July 10 after reportedly failing to signal in her vehicle while switching lanes. Following her arrest, she was found hanging in her cell on July 13. After her death was ruled a suicide by Harris County medical examiners, a video released of her arrest rose questions regarding police brutality. According to a bystander, Bland was “tossed” to the ground, and could be heard saying, “You just slammed my head into the ground. Do you not even care about that? I can’t even hear.” She was charged with “assault on a public servant.”
As the statewide law enforcement agency Texas Rangers and the FBI conduct a joint investigation in the death of Bland, Twitter’s initial reaction is all too real. Flip through.