Lena Dunham Raises Awareness on Sandra Bland’s Website for Women
Since her untimely death in a Texas jail cell on July 13, Sandra Bland’s story has captured the country, with many working to make sure they continue her legacy by ending police brutality.
You can count HBO’s “The Girl’s” star and writer Lena Dunham as someone who wants to see Bland’s ambitions come to life. Dunham recently interviewed Bland’s friend Chenai Okammor, for her soon-to-be-launched newsletter Lenny. Okammor and Bland had plans of launching the site Woman4Woman, which went live today, as a way to connect and empower women across the world to share their stories.
Okammor, 51, met Bland at church when she joined a committee and the two struck up a friendship. Okammor was impressed by Bland’s ideas.
She says of Bland, “Sandy was raised by a single mother with a bunch of sisters. And she said when she was growing up, she held back her thoughts at times. What became clear to me as I met more with Sandra was she was finding her own voice. After a couple of meetings, Sandra shared our project with her sisters, encouraging them to join our group. She had such a commitment to having women tell their own stories and she helped them talk about things they hadn’t talked about before.”
Okammor recalls a time Bland said to her, “I’m 28 and I’m just now beginning to identify what I stand for. I do know that when something is wrong, it bothers me so much that I take to heart.”
What Bland set out to accomplish with Woman4Woman was to be able to share her story with young women because she thought she was alone in her quirkiness.
The most poignant part of Dunham’s interview with Okammore has to be this exchange:
LD: What does it make you feel like when you hear the press being critical of Sandra? There’s a lot of ignorance about the fact that, whether it’s suicide or someone has been killed, it’s still murder because they’ve had their humanity taken away from them.
CO: Oh my goodness. Lena, Lena, Lena. You hit it with that line. If people can say all the things they’re saying and sleep with themselves at night, then we’ve got a bigger problem than we realize. Because if it were their child, their relative, their sister, their friend, their colleague or whatever, they would never have looked at it that way. However, it shows more the amount of work we still need to do.
And you know it’s always the women who hold up the country in times of war. It’s the women who hold up anything or everything. That’s why we’re doing this.