Erica Garner – a young warrior gone too soon


The death of Black Lives Matter activist Erica Garner, aged just 27, is heartbreaking.

Her heart was broken when her father, Eric Garner, died after a policeman held him in a chokehold in 2014.

It helped sparked a movement, Black Lives Matter, and gave rise to the slogan “I can’t breathe”, which were Garner’s last words.

Erica spoke about the severe stress caused by her father’s death and the lack of justice.

A grand jury decided not to indict the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, which led to protests in New York City, where the tragedy took place.

Erica died of a cardiac arrest during an asthma attack, having earlier suffered an enlarged heart due to complications during childbirth.

The Reverend Al Sharpton called Erica “a warrior until the end”, and Bernie Sanders said she would “not be forgotten.”

Eric Garner’s death was one of the early tragedies highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Her daughter represented every bereaved family of an injustice; thrust into campaigning in the midst of personal pain; an ordinary person doing extraordinary feats and carrying the hopes of thousands on her shoulders.

As we mourn Erica’s untimely death, it is a moment to redouble our collective efforts to stop disproportionate Black deaths in custody and race inequality everywhere.

But it is also a time to remember the personal toll on those leading the struggle, especially when they have lost loved ones.

We remember everyone in the UK-based United Friends and Families Campaign, who have all suffered losses close to their hearts.

Find out more about them here:

"Even with my own heartbreak, when I demand justice, it's never just for Eric Garner. It's for my daughter; it’s for the next generation" - Erica Garner (May 29, 1990 – December 30, 2017)

Lester Holloway