No mass movement happens on its own. There's always something or someone that ignites the flame of change, and inspires a group of people to come together under a common cause. Black America has always been aware of the need for a better quality of living within the country we call home. The killings of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and countless more innocent black men at the hands of police reminded us that despite seeing a black president, we were far from finished with the fight against systemic oppression.
Eric Garner's life was taken on camera at the hands of a police officer using excessive force, who would go on to receive no punishment for his abuse of power. Eric Garner was a husband and a father who should still be here with us today. His death - and lack of penalty for the officer - resulted in nationwide protests and public outcries for justice from a system that has failed black people for hundreds of years. In the midst of the mayhem, a young woman was turned into a political activist. She may not have planned to do so with her life, but Erica Garner was called to action.
Following the death of her father, Erica immediately sprung into action leading marches twice a week to the location of her father's killing, which the media labeled "die-in's." She also set up the Garner Way Foundation to engage communities worldwide, through political awareness, music, arts and community activism. Erica was just like any other youth. She'd led a normal life until faced with the inescapable reality that we have a duty that is bigger than all of us. To be black in America comes with the responsibility to be an activist in some way, shape or form.
Erica's unfortunate passing reminds us of one thing: we are never too young to do all we can to push our people forward. Whether motivated by a natural interest in social justice, or by tragedy we all are linked by the same responsibility to our community. As Black culture continues to build itself into its own institution, we must not forget those who were a catalyst for our forward progression. We must not forget our Erica Garner's.
Black history can never be forgotten, but the future of our Black America is something to be shed light on. Black culture's ownership of its leverage and economic impact in sports, film/television, fashion, and music is being unapologetically claimed. Get ready for the #NewBlackRenaissance.