Though her life was short, Erica Garner’s achievements as an activist were extraordinary following the choking death of her father Eric Garner. But she was also a cherished mother, daughter and friend.
Here is a brief look at the life and sayings of the late 27-year-old activist.
Garner entered the public eye in July 2014 when her father, Eric Garner, died after being put in a chokehold by a New York City police officer. Eric Garner was heard saying, “I can’t breathe” multiple times before he died.
“I was a Daddy’s girl,” she says. “We never heard ‘No.’ If I needed something, my father provided. If he couldn’t do it right then, he’d say, ‘Give me time,’ but he never said ‘No.'”
After her father’s death on July 17, 2014, Garner began holding protests and “die-ins,” becoming an outspoken advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement.
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“I don’t even watch it as a daughter anymore; I look at it as a case study,” Garner told Elle.com about the video of father’s death. “I kind of like, analyze it,” she says. “I got over the sad parts of seeing the horrific death. But the only thing I can’t get past is when he’s on the gurney and his eyes [are] looking directly into the camera, because that’s something I can’t bear to watch…I can tell he’s lifeless there. No one really gets the chance to actually see their loved one die right in front of them. Or see…that their loved one is dead, and everyone is watching.”
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Garner briefly contemplated a run for Congress in 2016 against Rep. Daniel Donovan. But ultimately she decided not to run, and threw her support behind Bernie Sanders. She stumped for the former candidate during his run to become the Democratic presidential nominee.
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Garner saw social justice as her calling: “Social justice is her calling now. “I’ve absolutely discovered what I want to do with my life,” she says. “Before, I was just kind of aimless, not sure what I was going to be doing. Now I know.”
Garner left two children behind. Her youngest child was born this summer amid Garner’s own heart complications.
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Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner, who was choked to death by a police officer on Staten Island asks to speak with United States President Barack Obama outside the studio during a town hall hosted by ABC News to engage directly with officers, parents, students, community leaders and families on trust and safety in the communities at the Studio Theater July 14, 2016 in Washington, DC.
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“People ask, ‘When will you stop marching? What do you want from marching?’ He was my father,” Garner said. “I will always march.”
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“I’m just trying to get the truth out there to tell his side of the story,” she said of her late father. “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.”