WARNING: This clip contains reference to and non-graphic footage of the alleged suicide of Sandra Bland.
This HBO documentary directed by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner was released in 2018, and HBO offered it for free to all viewers in the Summer of 2020 as a response to the police murder of George Floyd and subsequent uprisings. The documentary explores the death of Sandra Bland, a politically active 28-year-old Black woman who, after being arrested for a traffic violation in a small Texas town, was found hanging in her jail cell three days later. Dashcam footage revealing her arrest went viral, leading to national protests. The film team followed the two-year case beginning shortly after Bland’s death, exploring the questions of what really happened to her, and what we may learn from her tragedy.
What kinds of footage is shown in this trailer? Who produced it?
The title, and protestor’s chants heard in the trailer reference the Say Her Name movement, a social media movement that aimed to draw attention to the women who have also been victims of police brutality. Take a look at this website, and then discuss why you think so many activists wanted to name the experiences of Black women as different from Black men?
Much of the footage shown in the clip comes from Bland’s own “selfie” recordings. How does your understanding of her murder change through seeing her speak?
Why do you think HBO provided the documentary for free over the summer of 2020? How do you think media corporations should involve themselves in activism?