In a moving piece for the Washington Post, Erica Garner came out in strong support of Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, who she called the “strongest ally” to black Americans.
Garner, whose father, Eric, died in 2014 after an NYPD officer held him in a chokehold, has organized several protests since, demanding police reform and justice. In her essay, entitled “Black lives like my father’s should matter. That’s why I’m endorsing Bernie Sanders,” she explained how a Sanders presidency would pave the way for change.
“Even with my own heartbreak, when I demand justice, it’s never just for Eric Garner,” she wrote. “It’s for my daughter; it’s for the next generation of African Americans. When I think about this presidential election, I’m not just thinking about the next four years — I’m thinking about the next 40.”
Though Garner says she understands the reticence of many to trust politicians, she says Sanders will be a strong advocate for black Americans.
“We aren’t the first generation of black Americans to rise up and demand our human right to life, and we won’t be the last. But I know a better world is possible. I know that once we come together, we are powerful beyond imagination. Sen. Sanders knows this too. He’s learning from us, working with us and respecting the power of we, the people, over the established political machine.”
“We are far from eradicating racism in this country,” Sanders wrote on his site. “Today in America, if you are black, you can be killed for getting a pack of Skittles during a basketball game. Or murdered in your church while you are praying. This violence fills us with outrage, disgust and a deep, deep sadness. These hateful acts of violence amount to acts of terror.”
Garner concluded by comparing Sanders’ campaign to President Obama’s, specifically how both are a symbol of challenging the sociopolitical status quo. “[Obama’s] opponents said he wasn’t ready for leadership. They said he couldn’t win. He said, ‘Yes, we can.’ And we did.
“I still believe we can. That’s why I endorse Bernie Sanders for president,” Garner wrote.
You can read Garner’s full essay here.