When I met Erica Garner in 2016 at the Drug Policy Alliance Conference in New York City, it was not a meeting of activist and journalist; it was a chance meeting between two women who were desperately missing their fathers and determined that they would never be forgotten, that their legacies would endure.
We remember Black Lives Matter activist Erica Garner, who died Saturday after she fell into a coma following an asthma-induced heart attack. She was just 27 years old. Erica helped lead the struggle for justice for her father, Eric Garner, who was killed when police officers in Staten Island wrestled him to the ground, pinned him down and applied a fatal choke hold in 2014. His final words were “I can’t breathe,” which he repeated 11 times.
In August, Erica gave birth to her second child, a boy named after her late father. Doctors say the pregnancy strained her heart. We feature Erica in her own words on Democracy Now!
I want to organize black and brown—the black and brown folk on Staten Island. I want to knock on doors. I want to ask the people of Staten Island about their issues firsthand, because no one is talking about, you know, what’s going on in Staten Island. So, if I do decide to run for Congress, I want to, you know, be one of those elected officials that get into office and don’t turn their backs on people. I want to be one who wants to hold people accountable and get the corrupted out. I want to be able to treat—the same way how they treat whistle blowers, I want to be able to point out the corrupted elected officials and get them out.
I’m in This Fight Forever.’” - Erica
Hurray for the Riff Raff is an American folk-blues and Americana band from New Orleans, Louisiana. Alynda Lee Segarra is Hurray for the Riff Raff's creative force, as she writes and sings all of the band's songs. hurrayfortheriffraff.com
Alynda Segarra was raised by her aunt Nereida in the Bronx where she developed an early appreciation for doo-wop and Motown. She is of Puerto Rican descent. Her mother is former New York City Deputy Mayor Ninfa Segarra.
Alynda ran away from her home in the Bronx, aged 17 and then spent time crossing North America, hopping freight trains. During this time, she became a part of The Dead Man Street Orchestra, who were documented in a photo essay by Time Magazine in 2007. Segarra became a regular attendee of hardcore punk shows at ABC No Rio when she was young.
After two self-released albums (2008s It Don't Mean I Don't Love You and 2010s Young Blood Blues), the band released a self-titled CD composed of Alynda's favorite songs from those records on Loose Music in Europe on March 21, 2011. Tracks from the band's debut release have received airplay on BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music.
In February 2011, the band were featured in an article in The Times, based around the HBO TV series, Treme, with their track "Daniella" being listed in their selection of New Orleans' essential songs.
“When you sing about killing women,” she (Segarra) says and, as in her songs, her measured tone only increases the power of her words, “I’m thinking about you killing me, and I’m thinking about you killing my friends. And I’m thinking about you killing the girl that I knew who is dead now. Y’know?” Read more at: UncutUK
The Body Electric
St. Roch Blues
Look Out Mama
Young Blood Blues
Aida, initially a Daf player, studied with Amir Samadi in Tehran, Iran. She moved from Tehran to Minneapolis in summer of 2000. One unsuspecting summer day back in Tehran, she was pushed to sing on stage by Samadi, and she fell in love with it ever since.
Her passion for Persian classical music stems from the cultural identity she craved after immigrating, and the women she met during her years of study. Her senior project at University of Minnesota's Anthropology department centered around restrictions on the voices of female classical vocalists in Iran, through which she met, interviewed, and studied with Parissa for a short period of 3 months. While residing in NYC, Aida worked with a few non-profit organizations as a teaching artist promoting the arts as a tool for social justice. She created and taught a class called Iran's Arts Activism centered around the effects of society on art and vise versa, at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She has worked with different artists internationally and is grateful for their generosity with creative space.
Stay - بمان
If I close my eyes (so I can't see you) ,
Aida currently has a little home in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis. She loves her little patch of basil on the windowsill and the 5 minute walk from her home to the Mississippi.