The Prairie View City Council voted to rename University Drive as Sandra Bland Parkway. The street leads to Prairie View A&M University, which is Blands alma mater. She was set to begin a job there when she was arrested during a traffic stop on July 10. Officials say Bland hung herself in her cell at the Waller County Jail just three days later. Her apparent suicide was the latest in a string of deaths of African-Americans while interacting with law enforcement.
Activist Denise Mattox says the street will honor Blands memory in a community thats been shocked by her death.
And maybe because we are remembering every day, with every citation thats written, every time we turn down this road, were remembering what can tragically happen if we dont do things correctly, Mattox says.
Dozens of demonstrators and students showed their support for the measure by marching more than one mile from the campus to Prairie View City Hall.
Among them was Prairie View A&M University graduate Michael Moore. He drove from Pearland to take part in the event. Moore says Blands death should be honored as a part of the citys history.
Theres a slave owner that has a street named after him, Moore says. Ronald Reagan, theres a street named after him, so why not Sandra Bland? She graduated from Prairie View, wanted to come back and give back, so I think that she deserves it.
Blands arrest during a routine traffic stop made national headlines. Dashcam footage shows the interaction quickly escalated, and she can be heard complaining that shes in pain as shes put in handcuffs. The state trooper who arrested Bland has since been removed from street duty. Moore thinks its good for the community to have a lasting reminder of what happened.
When police officers stop any of our students at Prairie View, theyll always be able to write that name, Sandra Bland, just to remind them, their consciousness, that, hey, I cant treat this person bad, or do any unlawful things to the students, he says.
City hall was full to capacity during the council meeting. Dozens of activists waited at the door after the march to learn the results of the vote.
Council members say the name change is expected to go into effect sometime before the universitys homecoming in October. They also approved a proposal to build a park named after Bland.