Years-old footage of Sandra Bland’s July 2015 arrest, which led to her death three days later in a Texas jail cell surfaced on Tuesday afternoon.

I did not watch the video. I do not need to. I know that Sandra Bland did not kill herself—a morally corrupt justice system did.

One may take issue with such an admittedly untested accusation, but I don’t care. I don’t care about what you think is right or wrong any more than the State Trooper cared about wielding a gun and training it on Bland’s person.

I am tired of black trauma. I am literally sick of black death.

I don’t believe in an ostensibly, systemically corrupt system’s commitment to convicting itself any more than the state trooper’s reckless abandon believed that Bland’s life mattered when he pursued the “routine” traffic stop that led to the taking of her life.

Sandra Bland did not kill herself.

Bland, a socially-connected college graduate sat in jail for three days because of a corrupt justice system and its pipeline to the prison industrial complex.

And we, her family, friends, and community could not resource the $500—10 percent of the $5,000 bond that had been set for her by a Waller County, Texas judge—required in exchange for her freedom.

For more than half a century, the nation and world believed Emmett Till whistled at and said, “Bye, baby” to a white woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, before being lynched in Money, Mississippi in 1955.

This, even though Timothy Tyson’s 2018 book The Blood of Emmitt Till revealed that those allegations were, in fact, a lie—by Donham’s own admission—and the author described Till’s lynching as having ruined, of all people, Donham’s life.

Still, somehow, even some black folks were and remain convinced that a feisty, God-believing, new job-having, #BlackLivesMatter-supporting, Black Greek sorority letter-bearing, college-degreed, proud Historically Black College and University (HBCU) graduate about to start a new job at her alma mater, hung herself in a county-jail three days after being pulled over for failure to signal a lane change.

Sandra Bland did not kill herself.

Prior to her killing, I told all of social media that I’d be deleting anyone insinuating, even the possibility, that Freddie Gray severed his own spine while sitting with his arms restrained, in a Baltimore Police Department van in April 2015.

Then, Bland lay dead in a morgue by the time now-confessed and convicted white supremacist Dylan Roof massacred nine black people in a South Carolina church days later in July 2015 when the police managed to arrest him and buy him Burger King.

I am sick and tired of us falling for the okie-doke. I am sick and tired of the abuse of black women being rationalized away because we talk back and don’t stay in our place.

Sandra Bland did not kill herself.

I keep repeating myself for good reason: because despite, however “woke” you may be, you probably have to be convinced that Bland’s death was undeserving, and, much more, not at her own hands.

Because this is the burden of blackness: to always be guilty until proven innocent. And even when not proven guilty, to always, always, always have people be suspicious of you.

On Tuesday, I was reminded anew that I could’ve been a murdered somebody, and, folks, including black folk who know and love me, would believe it was possible that I killed me.

And so I’m waiting, not on a reopened investigation—which is more than warranted. Nor am I waiting on justice in dollars or in jail sentences, because she already got a futile street sign. I’m waiting on black folk realize how much we’ve internalized white supremacy.

I’m waiting because if I ever come up dead while in police custody, I want y’all to know that somebody killed me. Don’t let no one tell y’all nothing different, ever.

That is why I’m going to keep telling the world again and again and again: Sandra Bland did not kill herself.

A historian and storyteller whose research interests include black higher education and college student activism, Dr. Crystal A. deGregory is an associate professor of history who most recently served as the award-winning inaugural director of the Atwood Institute for Race, Education, and the Democratic Ideal at Kentucky State University.

This undated file handout photo provided by the Waller County Sheriff’s Office shows Sandra Bland. Cellphone video Bland took during a confrontational 2015 traffic stop in Texas with a state trooper has surfaced publicly for the first time. The 39-second clip shows the woman’s perspective as the trooper draws a stun gun and orders her out of her car. (Waller County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File)

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