- Najja Parker The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Many are mourning the loss of activist Erica Garner, who died at age 27 after suffering a massive heart attack Saturday.
She was a voice in the Black Lives Matter movement, which she joined after her father Eric Garner died following a police-related incident. Organizing rallies, die-ins and meetings, she worked to fight social injustices until her death.
Here are five things you should know about the trailblazer.
Her father was Eric Garner.
He died in 2014 after a NYPD officer placed him in a chokehold as police attempted to arrest him for allegedly selling cigarettes illegally in Staten Island. His last words, "I can't breathe," became a rallying cry for protesters as they plastered the sentence on signs and T-shirts.
While his death was ruled a homicide, a grand jury decided not to indict the accused officer on criminal charges. The city of New York settled with Eric Garner’s estate for $5.9 million in July 2015, CNN reported.
Erica Garner’s second child, who was born about three months ago, was named after her dad.
She was a prominent figure in the Black Lives Matter movement.
She became involved in activism after the death of her father. Months after he passed, she staged a die-in at the same location where her dad was confronted by the cops.
Within three years, she met with several politicians and influencers, including Al Sharpton, Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders, in attempt to reform the justice system and fight against police brutality.
The New Yorker was initially apprehensive about becoming an activist.
She feared being one of the faces of the Black Lives Matter organization, according to her site.
“Erica’s apprehension of being involved with a movement of this magnitude quickly dissipated as she began to break down the various barriers involved with public protests,” the site read. “From police barricades being installed at the locations where her group is known to march, to the Staten Island police scheduling rallies at the same time,” she was hopeful, peaceful and committed.
She died at age 27.
The mother of two suffered her first cardiac arrest in August shortly after the birth of her second child. Doctors said the pregnancy put stress on her already enlarged heart.
On Dec. 23, she went into a coma when an asthma attack led to a second heart attack. She died on Dec. 30, and leaves behind two kids, her grandmother, mother and a host of other relatives.
Several influencers have spoken out about her legacy.
Activists, including Shaun King, DeRay McKesson and Bernice King, have praised her for her work.
“Not even 30 yet and did not back away from the freedom struggle. She carried a burden. I pray that she’s resting now,” tweeted Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King.
“I don’t think anybody had my back like Erica did. Consistently,” Shaun King said.
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