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