Sigma Gamma Rho hosts vigil to honor Sandra Bland
A thin sliver of fire burning from a cylinder candle danced in the wind to represent the life of activist, Sandra Bland.
On Sunday, the Lambda Mu Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated hosted a vigil in front of the UCF Reflecting Pond to honor its soror, Bland, who allegedly committed suicide after she was pulled from her car during a traffic stop and arrested by a Texas officer for refusing to throw out a cigarette.
Erin Mitchell, a junior public administration major, said the event not only revitalized the memory of Bland, but it was symbolic in the nature of her advocacy and demise.
"The purpose of this event was to continue to shed light on our soror Sandra Bland because we all know that she passed in a very mysterious way that they have yet to come to a solution for. We want to keep the knowledge and spotlight on her," Mitchell, the sorority's chapter president, said.
The vigil was initiated with a prayer and followed by a performance from the Gospel and Cultural Choir at UCF.
As the choir memoirs robustly sang, "We Give You All the Glory," members of the sorority passed around and lit candles illuminating the passageway in front of Millican Hall.
After a poem was recited, apples were passed out to represent the foundation of knowledge in which Bland was embedded.
Tony Hill, the secretary of Sigma Gamma Rho's graduate chapter, said the apples were important to close out the event because it will stand as a tool of reminder for people to continue to seek knowledge in Bland's controversial case.
"We would like honor her memory and make everyone aware that, you know, as African-Americans, not only African-Americans, but as human beings on this planet we have a duty to become aware of what's going on in our culture and our society and the world as a whole," Hill said.
Hill said the sorority plans to continue to fight for the truth behind Bland's case and localize the issue on UCF's campus.
"As the apple is the symbol for education, we also want people to use their knowledge and wisdom and to research. Research your rights. Research the rights you have and with the police or anyone, we all have rights," she said.
Mitchell, Hill and the rest of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority members are motivating students to seek more details and shed light on Bland's case by using the hashtags #sayhername and #Sandyspeaks on social media.
Although, the candles were eventually blown out, the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority will continue igniting the effects of social injustice in the minds of students at UCF.
"The best thing [students] can take away is that social injustices are still alive," Mitchell said.
Shanae Hardy is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Email her at ShanaeH@CentralFloridaFuture.com