This woman’s name is France Francois. In the picture above, that’s currently going viral, she was attending a vigil for Michael Brown in Malcolm X Park in Washington, D.C. Her sign was honest, frustrated and it resonated with everyone who is in support of the unarmed teen who unfairly lost his life at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson. Francois’ message sparked an immediate reaction on social media and has been shared over 3,000 times and counting.
The 28-year-old activist spoke with Alternet.org and said, “I’m glad it sparked some conversation because I think, throughout the nation, we’re all asking ourselves this question: ‘How did we come here again? How did we find ourselves in this very same space?'”
The again that Francois speaks of refers to the plethora of times we’re faced with losing another Black life because someone of authority claims to feel threatened or fear. This isn’t Francois’ first time taking passionate action. While a student at Florida State University, she protested the unlawful and brutal killing of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson at the hands of boot camp instructors. After months of silence in wake of Anderson’s death, Francois teamed up with fellow students from Florida State University, Tallahassee Community College, Florida A&M University and Florida State University and staged a 34-hour sit-in at then governor Jeb Bush’s office.
Francois recalls, “A feeling of rage and powerlessness gripped us in Tallahassee, and students and citizens marched into the streets, and sat down. We shut down the busiest street in Tallahassee with dozens of students linking hands and forming a circle. The police came and the Black police chief soon followed. He said to me, ‘I understand how you guys feel. I’m going to LET YOU do this.’ He didn’t realize we were ready then for whatever they had planned; we’d been preparing for jail, dogs, anything for over a year. He could not have stopped our civil disobedience even if he had tried.”
As far as her voice being heard in Mike Brown protests, Francois was unsure she even wanted to bring her uniquely candid sign to the vigil as it contains profanity and she was worried it would be perceived as rage. “For me, it goes back to the idea that we’re not allowed to feel these sentiments,” she said. “We always have to be stoic. We always have to make certain people comfortable and I really didn’t want to make anyone comfortable at that time. I felt angry. I felt fearful for my young brother and my younger cousin. And I currently feel fearful for the son I might have and I wasn’t trying to make people feel comfortable because I don’t feel like this is a moment where we should feel comfortable. We should be questioning the fact that this continues to happen and I wanted that to be expressed.”
Take it from France Francois. If you’re feeling angry, hurt, betrayed, whatever, express yourself and get out there and support Mike Brown in whatever peaceful way you can. You never know who’s watching and who you will impact.
WATCH NOW: 22 Powerful Images From The Ferguson Protests
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Celebs Tweet Their Thoughts About #JusticeForSandraBland
1. Jesse Williams
#SandraBland's treatment while attempting to travel freely on HER public roadways has been acknowledged as unlawful. She is already dead.
2. Taraji P. Henson
"SAY HER NAME #SandraBland"
3. Ava DuVernay
"'Why are you arresting me?' Because you know your rights. Because I can. Because no one'll believe you. #SandraBland"
4. Kim Kardashian
#WhatHappenedToSandraBland We need answers!!!! This is NOT ok! This is all shady! They need to own up to this & tell the truth!
5. Jussie Smollet
"A loss 4 words. #SandraBlandMatters #BlackLivesMatter 👈🏿tell me this should change once the nation shows that we do. "
6. Snoop Dogg
🙏🌹. Sandra. Rip. 🌹🌹
7. K. Michelle
R.I.P to this queen. This could've been any of us. My prayers go out to her family. #sandrabland https://instagram.com/p/5fvlO_AhCf/
8. Gabrielle Union
SAY HER NAME!!! #SandraBland #SandraBland #SandraBland #SayHerName
"We must get to the cause of #sandrabland death because this CANNOT happen again #deathorfreedom"
10. David Banner
"When will we fight back. A man's duty on earth is to protect women and children. Where are the gangsters? Preachers? We need you. Please."
11. Nicki Minaj
"Rest In Peace #SandraBland"
12. Talib Kweli
"We the people ask @LorettaLynch to investigate #SandraBland #KimberleeRandleKing RETWEET "
Signs. Signs. Signs all around us. The Message is Here. #SandraBland
14. Missy Elliot
"When I look at the #SandraBland traffic video it brings so many emotions😳😢😡😡😤!"
15. Jessie J
"God bless your soul Sandra | #sandrabland | Change needs to come |Justice needs to be served | Heart… https://instagram.com/p/5fV79mQ0aw/ "
16. Jackee Harry
"It's time y'all, it's time.." #SandraBland #BlackLivesMatter
"In memory of #SandraBland these things don't make no kinda sense "
18. Holly Robinson Peete
I really don't look forward to having ANOTHER difficult conversation w my kids tonight...but here we go again😧💔 #SandraBland #SayHerName 😢
19. Jeffrey White
Sadly, doesn't matter by whose hand she died. Unjustified arrested set the outcome in motion. The state murdered her. #JusticeForSandraBland
Sandra could have been your mother, sister, aunt, friend or if she wasn't killed the community outreach advisor A&M. #SandraBland
21. Joan Smalls
"My heart is broken. Sending my deepest condolence to her family and friends. May you find Strength, Peace and Justice. When will this stop? #EqualityForAll #RIP #Why #SayHerName
22. Gladys Knight
Sandra Bland.... #SayHerName #SandraBland
23. Cara Delevigne
Things need to change NOW #SANDRABLAND #Justice #Equality
24. Meek Mill
"Rip to that young lady that lost her life about a traffic stop! 🙏 ima make sure I pray for her and her family! 🙏😄😄😄"