This is episode one of Anna DeShawn’s alog. During this episode Anna talks about Erica Garner’s life, work, and the legacy she leaves with us. A new alog will be published every Sunday here on E3 Radio.
What’s good, good people. Thank you for tuning in to my first episode of #annasgotaword. I haven’t done anything quite like this before so be kind with the feedback. I’d love to hear from you though so please comment, share, and share again if it feels rite. This first episode is called Erica Garner: The Circle of Life.
[Erica Garner quote from a 2016 Breakfast Club interview] “This is trauma. This is trauma like I haven’t dealt with my father’s death. It’s been like I haven’t been mourning, so I’m trying like I’ve been dealing with my father’s death as a case study like constantly speaking out and this is all I have”.
That was Erica Garner and she made her earthly transition on December 30, 2017 at the age of 27. In 2014 she was thrust into activism after the murder of her father, Eric Garner, at the hands of NYPD. We’ve all seen the video; an illegal chokehold led to “I Can’t Breathe” which led to Eric’s murder & birthed Erica’s life’s work. Work that didn’t make front page news all the time. Like her weekly die-ins at the place her father was murdered. Her work for justice fueled her very existence. Erica showed up, spoke up & shook up the system even after none of the cops invovled were found guilty.
Four months ago she gave birth to a son and named him Eric. Giving birth to her one and only son put immense stress on her heart. She was told to slow down but she couldn’t. She was advised to take a break but I’m sure she didn’t know how. An asthma attack led her heart to fail. Her mother said this is the one and only fight she’s ever lost.
The wise ones among us speak on the circle of life and if you’re like me and born in 1983 when you hear the circle of life all I think about is the Lion King. All I want to do is start singing. But the wise ones right when they speak on the circle of life what they are speaking on is when one spirit transitions another one enters. The moment Eric transitioned from this life Erica’s life work began and was born. Erica transitioned because when she gave life her heart couldn’t take the labor. Can you imagine the last four months of her life speaking her sons name? I love you Eric. Eric, when you gon stop crying? Eric, I’m going to change the world for you.
One of my beloved cousin transitioned under the same circumstances. Her heart troubles developed after child birth. She too transitioned very very young. It will always hurt and I think it will always feel like it was “too soon” like it wasn’t fair. Black folks, our hearts are fragile and need our attention. Heart disease is very prevelant in the Black community. We all know someone with high blood pressure and diabetes. We know someone who has had a stoke. Ones physical heart can only take so much but guess what. Our emotional & spiritual heart’s can only take so much too.
Her heart break led her to do love work. Erica’s family sent a tweet because they wanted us to know that, “She was human: mother, daughter, sister, aunt. Her heart was bigger than the world. It really really was. She cared when most people wouldn’t have. She was good. She only pursued right, no matter what. No one gave her justice.” Will her family ever get the JUSTice she was fighting for? I doubt it.
I’ll end with this, when death knocks on our door it is an opportunity for us to reflect. What matters to you? Who would you fight for? What would you die for? There is an old saying that goes, “Only what’s done for Christ will last”. Now you can sub Christ for whatever feels good to you; Only what’s done for God/The Ancestors/The Universe will last. My question for you is, will your work last? Erica’s will. And this is the first edition of #annasgotaword. I hope ya’ll will continue to tune-in every Sunday. Till next time. Peace.
[Erica Garner quote from a 2016 Breakfast Club interview] “My life career I’ve dedicated myself to this. Not only fighting for justice for my father but fighting for everyone. Fighting for you know the next generation I want to teach the next generation of organizers and protesters to know that you know you don’t only have to be walking in the streets to get your voice heard”.
“If our lives really mattered in this country, we’d have equal access to clean air, clean water and real investment in black neighborhoods. If Black lives mattered in America, those who routinely brutalize us wouldn’t be the ones paid, with our tax dollars, to keep us safe.” -Erica Garner