American Icon: Erica Garner 1990-2017

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Activist. Organizer. Inspiration. Voice for Peace and Justice. Mother. Daughter.

Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner who became an outspoken activist against police brutality after her father’s death at the hands of a New York police officer, died on Saturday, according to her mother. She was 27. via The New York Times

From her obituary:

[Her father, Eric] Garner’s last words, “I can’t breathe,” became a slogan for activists.

Erica Garner became a voice for police accountability after his death, criticizing Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio over policing matters. In 2016, she campaigned on behalf of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent, for president.

Garner’s mother, Esaw Snipes, told The New York Times previously that Garner, who gave birth four months ago, had learned during the pregnancy that she had heart problems. Snipes said Garner had a heart attack after an asthma episode and was placed in a medically induced coma.

I’ve been struggling with writing this, I’ve written and deleted pages about her and my feelings and aspirations, but none of that matters, my words don’t matter, what matters is Ms. Erica Garner’s voice. So here it is. Every second of it is worth your time to watch and 10 times that your thought.

I met Ms. Garner in 2016. I try not to talk about 2016. It was a traumatic year and I feel like we need to focus on the future, but we must learn from the past.

I wrote this with a picture I took with Ms. Garner when I met her last February in South Carolina.

Erica Garner is the most incredible, powerful, modest and inspiring person I have ever met. She is a strong voice for the end to police violence.

From activist and lead organizer of the Women’s March Linda Sarsour:

3 weeks ago Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner who was killed at the hands of the NYPD in 2014 said this on a show with Benjamin Dixon, “I’m struggling right now with the stress. Because this thing beats you down. The system beats you down.”

Marinate on her words.

She was a 27 year old young Black Woman who was moved to work against injustice in the wake of the murder of her father. She was unapologetically Black – a truth teller. But she also experienced trauma, overwhelming stress of the society in which we live and the responsibilities of life. The heaviness of the burden was too much.

In honor of this young hero, let us remember and love her by loving those who risk the most for all of us. Let us support the Black women; the women of color on the frontlines who sacrifice everything – things you see and things you don’t. Support could be checking in and asking “are you good?” “Do you need anything?” “Can I watch your baby to give you some alone time?” “You good on rent?”

Love and protect one another. We are all we got. Erica wanted to live in a city, a country that respected Black people and by extension that would have been a city that respected all of us. We promise you Erica, we are gonna keep doing that work.

Erica Garner deserved a better life, a longer life, but I know her life was full, rich and dedicated to making sure what happened to her father would never happen again. Erica doesn’t get to see the future where that is a reality. We must make it for her children.

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