We are saddened and enraged by the death of Erica Garner yesterday morning. Her father, Eric Garner, was murdered at the hands of the New York Police Department on July 17, 2014 as he cried out over and over “I can’t breathe.” Our hearts mourn for and with the Garner/Carr family, and we celebrate Erica’s life and work. Her beautiful, powerful, loving, genuine spirit will continue to inspire us.
This movement is not about creating martyrs. We don’t believe in martyrs, and we do not believe in people becoming ancestors too soon. Erica was 27 years old, a fighter, a mother of two young children, a warrior; a woman who is beloved. Erica died of a heart attack but her death was anything but natural; she died at the hands of a state that builds healthcare systems that neglect the needs of Black women and Black mothers in particular, a state that is engaged in a war on Black people, a state that has constructed and deploys a policing system that directly kills Black people and indirectly murders our families and loved ones by forcing them to engage in a never-ending struggle for justice under this current system. Erica’s death stands as a stark illumination of the ways in which police violence also takes an unimaginable toll on our families: emotionally, spiritually, financially, and physically.
The families of those killed by the state need as much ease and support we can give them and the knowledge that they do not bear their losses alone. We will double down on our efforts and fight harder for a world where Black people are living and thriving and loving and healing. May we all step into our sacred duty to engage fully in the struggle for justice and freedom for our people. In the name of Erica Garner and all Black people who have been murdered directly and indirectly by systems of antiBlack racism and white supremacy.
For the most up to date information on how to support Erica’s family and her legacy, please follow her on Twitter.