As questions loom regarding her death, mourners gathered to commemorate the life of Sandra Bland in her Chicago hometown on Saturday (July 25). Held at the DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church, Bland’s funeral comes just one day after the release of the official autopsy that ruled her death a suicide. Although doubt remains that she took her own life, Rev. Theresa Dear remarked that the service would celebrate Bland’s resilience.
“Our service will be one of celebration,” Dear said, according to NBC News. “We’ll be celebrating the life of Sandy Bland. We have much to celebrate. We’re happy that she found her voice, found her purpose in social justice. We celebrate that she walked and lived in her truth.”
In photos posted on Twitter, Bland’s funeral program is revealed to include intimate family moments, and an obituary that celebrated her faith and her efforts to use social media for community outreach:
“Unapologetic in her confidence and commitment to causes she believed in, Sandy introduced the world to #SandySpeaks on January 14, 2015 vowing to utilize social media as a platform to address societal injustices she felt impacted her community personally but were rarely discussed candidly. She expressed a genuine interest in lending a voice to the next generation regarding police brutality and racial politics, doing so on a weekly basis and reaching many viewers.”
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) July 25, 2015
Bland was arrested for a traffic stop in Waller County, Texas on July 10 and found dead in her cell just three days later. She was alleged to have committed suicide by hanging herself with a plastic bag. Amidst a slew of footage that reveal an aggressive arrest, as well as other questionable details, naysayers have suspected foul play on the part of authorities since the news surfaced.