Antiracism & Antifascism

Obituary: Erica Garner 1990-2017

ERICA GARNER, the Black Lives Matter activist and Bernie Sanders campaigner, has died after a heart attack, aged just 27.

Erica was thrust into political activism when white New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo killed her father Eric Garner in an asphyxiating chokehold in 2014, months after the murder of Michael Brown provoked US-wide protests.

Eric was caught on a phone camera, moments before his death, echoing the plea handed down by generations of African Americans, “Every time you see me, you wanna harass me, you wanna stop me … I’m minding my business, officer,” before uttering his final words, “I can’t breathe.”

But Erica was more than a family victim. Her mother Esaw Snipes aid, “The only thing I can say is that she was a warrior. She fought the good fight. This is just the first fight in 27 years she lost.”

Bernie Sanders, for whom Erica campaigned for in the 2016 Democratic primaries, called her “a leading proponent for criminal justice reform and for an end to police brutality” and also praised her combative qualities: “She was a fighter for justice and will not be forgotten.”

As part of her legacy, Erica leaves the Garner Way Foundation, set up to “engage communities all over the world in social justice issues through political awareness, music, arts and activism”.

The best way we can remember Erica is by continuing the fight that this warrior engaged in during the last three years of her tragically cut short life.