[act-ma] Sandra Bland & Police Violence Against Black People: History, Art, & Action | July 24 @ 7PM

Center for Marxist Education centermarxisteducation at gmail.com
Fri Jul 20 04:36:32 PDT 2018


 *Tuesday, July 24 | 7:00 - 9:00 PM*
*Sandra Bland & Police Violence Against Black People: History, Art, &
Action*
Scholars Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Marc Lorenc, and Phillip Luke Sinitiere
and a poetry performance by Boston-based artist Simone John
​
Three years ago in July 2015, Chicago native Sandra Bland died in Waller
County Jail.

White Texas state trooper Brian Encinia pulled over the 28-year-old black
woman for failure to signal a lane change. He escalated the traffic stop by
threatening Bland and screaming “I will light you up!” after which he
arrested her. Three days later she died in Waller County Jail. Bland’s
death—which a medical examiner ruled a suicide but which her family
contested by filing a wrongful death lawsuit—along with the dashcam footage
of her arrest propelled activists and artists to demand justice. Bolstered
by circulating the “Sandy Speaks” vlogs Bland created on Facebook in early
2015 and using hashtags like #SayHerName and #WhathappenedtoSandraBland
activists harnessed social media to bring attention to her case. They also
conducted direct action protests and marches in Houston and across the
country. While a Texas grand jury indicted Encinia with perjury (after
which the Texas Department of Public Safety fired him), in early 2016 they
returned no indictments of Waller County Jail officials in her death.
During the summer of 2017, a judge dismissed the charges against Encinia.
He also surrendered his law enforcement license, which means he will never
again work as a police officer. Later that year Bland’s family settled
their lawsuit with Waller County and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Despite the closure of Bland’s case and it comprehensive injustice, the
grotesque brutality of the traffic stop, the contested claim that she took
her own life, we still don’t know what happened inside of her cell in
Waller County Jail. Yet Sandra Bland lives on—digitally resurrected in her
“Sandy Speaks” videos and as the subject of art and culture—as both a
reminder of state violence against black women and as an inspiration for
continued resistance to the imperiled status of black people in the United
States and across the world.

On Tuesday, July 24, the CME will host a lecture on the history of the
Sandra Bland protest movement by scholar Phillip Luke Sinitiere, a
presentation by scholars Whitney Battle-Baptiste and Marc Lorenc on black
materiality and the escalation of white supremacist state sanctioned
violence, and a poetry performance by Boston-based artist Simone John.
Moderated by Edward Carson, CPUSA-Boston.

*Presenter Bios*
​
*Whitney Battle-Baptiste*
Whitney Battle-Baptiste is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the
University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her academic training is in history
and historical archaeology and her research is primarily focused on how the
intersection of race, gender, class, and sexuality look through an
archaeological lens. Her work has included interpreting captive African
domestic spaces at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage Plantation, school
segregation in 19th century Boston at the Abiel Smith School on Beacon
Hill, the Burghardt family homestead, also known as the W. E. B. Du Bois
Homesite in Great Barrington, Mass., and her most recent work on the
complexities of navigating a community-based archaeological project at the
Millars Plantation site on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera. Her first
book, Black Feminist Archaeology (Left Coast Press, 2011), outlines the
basic tenets of Black feminist thought and research for archaeologists and
shows how it can be used to improve contemporary historical archaeology as
a whole. She is also serving as the Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Center
at UMass Amherst. Follow her on Twitter @blackfemarch.

*Simone John*
Simone John is a poet, educator, and facilitator based in Boston, MA. She
received an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College with an emphasis
on documentary poetics. Her poetry has appeared or been reviewed in
Wildness,The Boston Globe,Public Pool, PBS Newshour,Bustle, and more. She
is the Associate Director of Organizational Equity Practice at Trinity
Boston Foundation and the Chief Creative Officer of Hive Soul Yoga, a
community wellness business. Simone has facilitated workshops and retreats
at colleges and organizations across New England. Areas of expertise
include: professional development for teaching artists and youth workers;
mindfulness and life design for millennials and creatives of color; and
incorporating racial equity into organizational change processes. Follow
her on Twitter @simoneivory.

*Marc Lorenc*
Marc Lorenc is a historical archaeologist interested in the intersection of
materiality, memory, and meritocracy. His dissertation research is based on
the Dr. James Still Historic Office and Homestead in Medford, NJ. Using
community-based participatory research and critical race theory, he is
partnering with local and descendant community members in a multi-year
project. Using archaeology as a tool for political action, he is interested
in examining how meritocratic thinking shapes and influences our engagement
with material culture and each other in profound and mundane ways.

*Phil Sinitiere*
Phil Sinitiere is a 2018-19 W. E. B. Du Bois Visiting Scholar at the
University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is also Professor of History at the
College of Biblical Studies, a predominately African American school
located in Houston’s Mahatma Gandhi District. A scholar of American
religious history and African American Studies, his books address the
intersection of race and religion in American culture, as well as the
political and intellectual work of W. E. B. Du Bois, including a volume
titled Protest and Propaganda:    W. E. B. Du Bois, The Crisis, and
American History. Some of Sinitiere’s Du Bois scholarship includes the
essays: “Of Faith and Fiction: Teaching W. E. B. Du Bois and Religion,” and
“Leadership for Democracy and Peace: W. E. B. Du Bois’s Legacy as a
Pan-African Intellectual.” With Edward Carson and Gerald Horne he’s
co-editing an upcoming issue of Socialism and Democracy devoted to the life
and legacy of Du Bois. He’s also published articles on Sandra Bland,
including “Religion and the Black Freedom Struggle for Sandra Bland” and
the forthcoming essay “The Aesthetic Insurgency of Sandra Bland’s
Afterlife.” Most recently, with Keisha Blain he co-organized an online
forum at Black Perspectives titled “Remembering Sandra Bland.”


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