Erica Garner’s fearless spirit and tireless dedication in the fight to end police brutality against Black people are continuing to live on.
Four months after her sudden passing last December at the age of 27, the activist and daughter of the late Eric Garner has been honored with a posthumous Shorty Award for her activism. The work she did in the wake of her father’s wrongful death at the hands of NYPD in July 2014 made a lasting impact in the ongoing fight for justice and the reclaiming of the value of Black lives.
Accepting the award on her behalf, Erica’s close friend and political advisor, Reggie Harris, was moved to tears as he took to the podium to celebrate her legacy. He dedicated the award to Erica, her family and #MeToo movement founder, Tarana Burke, before sharing a few tearful words about the young leader.
“Since I’m up here, I need to make sure that I say what Erica would’ve said,” Harris said, addressing the crowd at New York City’s Playstation Theater where the awards were held on Sunday evening. “Erica was not an activist by choice. She was forced into this when the murder of her father, Eric Garner, went viral on YouTube. It was filmed by a man named Ramsey Order, who is locked up right now on Rikers Island. So, shout out to Ramsey Order as well.”
See Harris’ full acceptance speech in the video above.
Eric Garner was a 43-year-old father of six who was unarmed when NYPD officers took his life by placing him in what proved to be a fatal chokehold while attempting to place him under arrest for allegedly selling cigarettes outside a State Island store. In Ramsey Order’s viral video footage of the arrest, Garner could be heard yelling the words, “I can’t breathe” 11 times as the officers continued to choke him and pin him to the ground.
A grand jury later declined to indict officer Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who administered the chokehold, on any charges.