Erica Garner died last weekend at age 27, but she leaves a legacy of activism and speaking up for what's right. After her father Eric Garner was killed by police in 2014, she spent the rest of her life doing her best to make sure such tragedy didn't happen to anyone else.
Hundreds of people gathered in a Harlem church on Monday (Jan. 8) for Erica Garner's funeral. Common, Al Sharpton, and city officials joined family, friends and other mourners to pay their respects to Erica, who had given birth to a baby boy in recent months named after her father.
Speakers at the funeral referred to Erica as a "warrior." In July 2014, New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo placed her father Eric Garner in a banned chokehold while he and other officers were arresting him under suspicion of selling illegal cigarettes. Garner, who suffered from asthma, died, with the medical examiner's office ruling it a homicide.
He repeated "I can't breathe" to police nearly a dozen times as they were arresting him. The incident was caught on video, and his dying words became a rallying cry for activists protesting police brutality.
After her father's death, Erica Garner became an activist herself, leading a nationwide campaign to fight police brutality. She continued to lead and protest until late December, when she had an asthma attack. The asthma attack triggered a heart attack, which left her with serious brain damage. With Garner in a coma, loved ones came to say their goodbyes before her death on Sunday, Dec. 30.
"I'm struggling right now, with the stress or whatever. This system beats you down to where you can't win," Erica Garner said in a video interview before her death. "...I felt the same pain that my father felt on that day when he said 'I can't breathe.'"
At her funeral, Al Sharpton continued to speak about the issue of the psychological and mental toll that activism can have on freedom fighters.
"Her heart was attacked in 2014 when her daddy was choked and begged 11 times for his life and they would never let the grip go," Sharpton said, according to New York Times. "When she saw the tape of her father, that's when her heart was broken. Whatever attack came, came to the pieces that were left."
Handlers of Erica Garner's Twitter account, @es_snipes, have continued to retweet posts of support.