After suffering brain damage following a heart attack, 27-year-old activist Erica Garner has died.
Her official Twitter account announced her death Saturday morning.
She became a prominent activist in July 2014 when her father, Eric Garner, was killed by New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo, who choked Garner for selling cigarettes. Eric Garner was seen on video refusing to be harassed anymore, before saying, “I can’t breathe” 11 times as Pantaleo choked him to death.
Erica Garner had been in a coma since Dec. 23, when she had an asthma attack that triggered a heart attack, according to the New York Daily News.
Yes, I believe she was taken, too. She got no justice from this criminal “justice” system for her father, but she continued to fight for justice for all of us. That’s what sytemic racism and police brutality does to communities of color. #EricGarner #EricaGarner #ICantBreathe pic.twitter.com/XPovLpYAwi
— Kendrick Sampson (@kendrick38) December 30, 2017
“When her son was born in August, she named her newborn after her father,” the newspaper reports. “Garner suffered her first heart attack shortly after the delivery, with doctors saying the pregnancy stressed her already enlarged heart.”
However, as some have explained, Erica Garner also suffered from trauma and chronic stress from the racist police violence that her father suffered. Racism, as scientists have explained time and time again, is not simply verbal abuse but a system that deprives and harms people of colour (notably Black people) day in day out, and has severe consequences on their health.
Systemic racism kills. Literally. Daily. This is why I have no space for folks who try to reduce the issue of racism to a mere "culture war", as though racism is just a bad idea held by otherwise decent people & not a brutal system that deprives people of humanity
— Bree Newsome (@BreeNewsome) December 30, 2017
When the stress of doing grassroots organizing is compounded by psychological trauma which is exacerbated by inadequate resources to treat that trauma what you get is a generation of black activists who *literally* put their lives on the line every day they go out & do this work.
— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) December 28, 2017
In 2016, Erica Garner endorsed Bernie Sanders for president and was the focus of a video campaign for the candidate. NPR reports that she supported the Vermont senator because of his record of standing with black people.
“He’s been, basically, a protester his whole career,” she said. “He’s not scared to go up against the systematic racism that exists in America today.”
Erica the world loves you. I love you. I am glad you came into our lives. May you find the peace in the next life that you deserved while you were here. I will always love you my sister. love you
— officialERICA GARNER (@es_snipes) December 30, 2017
In the Bernie Sanders video, Garner explained why she became an activist.
“I’m just trying to get the truth out there to tell his side of the story,” she said of her late father, Eric Garner. “He was being a loving, caring man that he was, and he was murdered. For a whole year, I’ve protested every Tuesday and Thursday. I feel like a representative for people throughout this whole nation because I’m doing this, I’m speaking out, me being his daughter. And that’s what I want to do, I just want to tell my truths.”
They keep saying Erica Garner died because of an enlarged heart & stress from her pregnancy, but conveniently leave out the stress from racism. The traumatic murder of her father and the endless anti-Blackness she had to endure would be enough to kill the healthiest of people.
— Xain (@xain_hs) December 31, 2017