The Crusader Newspaper Group

Mother of Sandra Bland to speak at Democratic Convention

Chicago Crusader staff report

The mothers of Sandra Bland and Hadiya Pendleton will speak at the Democratic National Convention, which will be held at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia July 25 to 28.

Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal and Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley will speak on Tuesday, July 26. They will be among various “Mothers of the Movement,” whose children were killed by police officers and gun violence. Other grieving mothers include Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin; Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontré Hamilton; Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis; Lezley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown.

It’s been one year since Bland from Naperville died in a Texas jail after she was arrested by State Trooper Brian Encinia on July 10, 2014. The officer stopped Bland after she made an improper lane change. After a heated verbal exchange, Encinia ordered Bland out of the car and handcuffed her while she was on the ground. Three days later, Bland was found dead her cell. A video showing Bland’s arrest sparked protests in Chicago and other cities. Thousands attended her funeral in Lisle.

An autopsy concluded that Bland committed suicide, but her family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Encinia and Texas jail officials. Encinia has since been fired from his job.

HADIYA PENDLETON'S MOTHER, Cleopatra Pendleton-Cawley stands next to First lady Michelle Obama during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in 2013.
HADIYA PENDLETON’S MOTHER, Cleopatra Pendleton-Cawley stands next to First lady Michelle Obama during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in 2013.

Hadiya Pendleton was just 15 years old when she was killed on January 29, 2013. A student at King College Prep High School, Hadiya was shot in the back while taking shelter from rain at Harsh Park in Kenwood. Hadiya died one week after she performed during President Barack Obama’s second inauguration in Washington. First lady Michelle Obama joined thousands who attended Hadiya’s funeral at Greater Harvest Baptist Church.

Two suspects, Michael Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 20, are admitted gang members who were arrested as they were headed to a strip club and charged with a staggering 141 counts of first degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated discharge of a weapon. The case drew national attention and spotlighted senseless shootings in Chicago’s South Side neighborhoods.

At the Democratic National Convention, both cases will illustrate the killings of young Blacks both by police officers and civilians.

Also scheduled to attend the convention are Felicia Sanders and Polly Sheppard. They are two of three survivors of the Mother Emanuel Church shooting in Charleston, SC.

First lady Michelle Obama and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will speak at the convention on Monday, July 25. On Tuesday, July 26, former President Bill Clinton will speak. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will speak on Wednesday, July 27 before Hillary Clinton accepts the Democratic nomination for president on Thursday, July 28.



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