Hundreds bid farewell to Sandra Bland who died in Texas jail cell

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Family and friends are gathering near Chicago to remember Sandra Bland's life at her funeral (KTRK)

Family and friends of an Illinois woman found dead in a Texas jail remembered her Saturday as a "courageous voice" for social justice and promised to keep fighting for clarity on the circumstances surrounding her death. The grieving process continues for the family and friends of Sandra Bland.

PHOTOS: Mourners remember Sandra Bland


The memorial service was held at DuPage AME Church Saturday morning. The sanctuary reached capacity before the funeral started. The church staff set up an overflow room in the basement, and even that was filled with those who loved Bland.

"My heart is broken, "Jasmine Johnson, Bland's childhood friend, said. "I just feel like I lost one of my sisters."

During the service, Sandra's mother spoke about their relationship, saying it was strained at times, but about three weeks before Sandra's death, they had a chance to repair it. She said they had a long talk and both apologized for things that had gone wrong over the years. She did not realize then how much she would value that conversation now.

Questions surrounding Bland's death haunt the minds of those who loved her.

"I don't think she took her own life," Regina Jackson said, "I think she was actually murdered."

Tap to see photos of Bland's death probe if viewing on News app.

PHOTOS: Sandra Bland death investigation


That's the feeling of countless visitors here.

"And so after this home going celebration, after this family has had an opportunity to lay their loved one to rest, we're gonna continue to ask for a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the death of Sandra Bland," Reverend Marshall Hatch said.

Eyewitness News obtained a copy of a letter from Illinois Congressman Bill Foster addressed to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Foster is asking Lynch to investigate Bland's death.

"I encourage you to initiate a full and thorough investigation so that we all may have the closure of truth," Foster wrote, "And take action to help protect all our citizens from tragedy."

In the meantime, the AME church is starting a recurring $1,000 dollar college scholarship in Bland's honor to help keep her legacy alive.
Related Topics:
Sandra Blandjail deathdeath in custodypoliceinvestigationu.s. & worldTexasIllinois
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