Erica Garner, Civil Rights Activist and Daughter of Eric Garner, Has Died At 27

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Erica Garner — who entered the national spotlight in 2014 after her father, Eric Garner, was killed by a police officer who kept him locked in a chokehold despite Garner saying “I can’t breathe” 11 times — has died at the age of 27. She spent the last week of her life hospitalized after suffering a heart attack.

Her passing was confirmed through her official Twitter account this morning with the message, “She passed away this morning. The reports are real. We didn’t deserve her.”

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Garner threw herself into the fight against police brutality targeted at racial minorities, especially black men and women, shortly after her father’s death. She led marches and protests and frequently spoke on the issue of racism within law enforcement in the media.

“I think they [the police] have that racist mentality: that black people are a threat, a danger,”Garner said in a January 2015 interview. “Where did it all come from? Why? What was the reason for bothering my father? Because they was bored?”

She continued, “I believe in justice. I believe it’s going to take a long time but it’s gonna come. Change is gonna come. Because it’s not just black people being killed, being brutalized. It might be people from a trailer park or poor white people that they will mess with, rather than messing with a man in a suit.”

Garner, the mother of two children, had a heart attack in August after the birth of her second son, Eric — named after her father.

Garner’s family asked her supporters to honor Erica’s legacy by sharing photos of her on social media and aiding their local foster care systems. “For now if you want to support Erica Garner,” read a tweet published on her account. “Go find a way to support your local foster care system. The last action she told me she wanted to do was to support foster kids as she was one herself. The person with her when she died was her foster mother… We prayed over Erica at 1am. I left to get sleep. It was just them and honestly I feel like if no one else was there, that is who Erica would have wanted to be with her at that moment. So support foster families for Erica please.”

The death of a person so young, who spent her final years fighting the grueling battle against racism, is proof of what an enormous toll bigotry has on those who must constantly deal with the stress and emotional burden racism inflicts.