Saturday, December 30, 2017

Erica Garner Suffering Long Term Effects of @NYPD Violence #BlackLivesMatter

Men in New York thought mocking Eric Garner's dying words was a good idea in 2014.

It's nine degrees below zero (Farenheit, that is) and the extreme cold has me thinking of the extremely vulnerable. Especially people with asthma struggling to find shelter and air warm enough to get oxygen into their bodies.

Eric Garner died hollering "I can't breathe" and now his daughter, activist Erica Garner (interviewed on Democracy Now! in the video above), has been declared brain dead due to oxygen deprivation from an asthma-induced heart attack. She is only 27 years old, and has two little children.

Erica in action on Staten Island, where her father was choked to death by police for selling loose cigarettes on the street.

The NYPD cleared the hospital room where she lay in a coma this week, kicking out other members of her family who were gathered to support her.

Why were police even in her hospital room in the ICU -- guarding a woman in a coma? Doubtful. Probably spying on those who loved her. Black activists like Erica are routinely targeted and harrassed by law enforcement, whose salaries are paid by me and thee and who should be public servants.

The NYPD had already been photographed mocking the elder Garner's dying words (see above).

In a well-resourced article by Christen A. Smith of the University of Texas, Austin, evidence piles up to answer a salient question: "Slow Death: Is the trauma of police violence killing black women?"

From Smith's article in the academic blog The Conversation: "A woman protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained by law enforcement. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman"

What kind of emotional toll does it take to be handcuffed, or watch a loved one be handcuffed, for the crime of speaking up about police brutality? What about watching a loved one bleed to death or choke to death at the hands of police? To watch people that look like your children senselessly dying? 

Black women are often victims of sexual violence at the hands of police, too. Few officers are ever held accountable by their management or their unions.

One of the things I'm going to do in response is to read the words of women of color every chance I get. That includes not only news and research but also blogs, essays and fiction. Starting with some of the titles from "46 Books By Women Of Color To Read In 2018." Art doesn't heal these wounds but it can deepen my understanding of what they mean to the women and girls who lived the experiences.

I'm also going to send material support to Erica Garner's family, and urge you to do the same. And I'm going to remember:

the kleptocracy's war on the poor is a racial matter.

Nothing will bring back Eric Garner but his daughter Erica's activism didn't have to end this way. We will not forget.

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