After suffering from brain damage following a heart attack, Erica Garner, a mother of two, has tragically passed away in a Brooklyn, NY hospital. She was surrounded by her loved ones during her last moments. Garner had been fighting for her life while in a coma when she had an asthma attack on Christmas Eve that lead to her having a heart attack. Reverend Al Sharpton states, “She has passed; her heart was broken when she didn’t get justice… The [heart] attack just dealt with the pieces that were left.”
Garner became known for being an empowering activist for leading protests in July 2014 after her father, Eric Garner, died after being put in a chokehold by a New York City police officer. Eric Garner was seen on video saying, “I can’t breathe” moments before he died. Erica Garner became a prominent figure in calling for an end to police brutality, as her father’s last words became a voluminous cry for the Black Lives Matter movement. In the mere months after her father’s death, she began staging weekly “die-ins” on the sidewalk in front of a beauty supply store in Staten Island, the site where the New York City police officer put her father in the fatal chokehold.
There has never been an indictment of any of the officers involved in Eric Garner’s death, sparking more outrage and protests across the country. The NYC coroner’s report lists his death as a homicide, but no officer has ever been charged in the case. In 2015, New York City has agreed settled with his family, who have brought a lawsuit against NYC, for $5.9 million.
Erica was indeed a force to be reckoned with, occupying spaces and speaking loudly against police brutality. She will remain as one of the most empowering women and activists to date and may her legacy and strength resonate for generations ahead. Erica Garner’s fight for justice for her father and everyone affected by police brutality will continue to go unnoticed. Her prominence beamed like no other. She was a fearless figure. Her light, her will to fight, her outspokenness and her truth shone brightly in the face of oppression and sometimes outright dismissal. In her passing, this world has lost more than what could possibly be recognized. May she rest in power. On behalf of the Affinity Team, we send condolences to the Garner family and all in Erica’s community.