Hundreds of activists, public figures and mourners hailed Erica Garner as a hero during her emotional homegoing service at First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York on Monday evening. Eric Garner‘s daughter, 27, was celebrated as a warrior who fought tirelessly for racial justice.
“When her father died, she was the one going out there in Staten Island every Tuesday and Thursday,” said the Rev. Kevin McCall. “She was the one to bring this to a national level.”
Garner had become an outspoken opponent of police brutality in the wake of her father’s death at the hands of a New York City cop who administered an illegal chokehold in July 2014. The fight for justice took a heartbreaking toll on Garner, whose life was cut short on December 30 after she fell into a coma following an asthma-induced heart attack. The mother of two left behind her daughter, 8, and son, 4 months.
In talking about Garner’s life and legacy, family and friends gave deep-reaching tributes to her. Rev. Al Sharpton eulogized the courageous activist, who made her mother, Esaw Garner proud.
“In the name of Erica and her father, we’re going to keep fighting,” Sharpton said.
Others, including rapper Common, also paid respects to Garner.
It’s clear that the activist mother will always be hailed for her courage and fighting spirit. “All sides remember the warrior spirit of Erica Garner as she fought for justice for her father Eric Garner and it’s that warrior spirit that should be remembered,” said Sharpton in a statement after the funeral.
A disruption was reported outside of Garner’s homegoing, where some of her family members had trouble getting into the church. Garner’s cousin, Benjamin Lawton, and her grandmother, Gwen Carr, weren’t allowed in, AM New York reported. The church said that Sharpton and the National Action Network was responsible for the funeral’s security, but NAN denied it. A fight also reportedly broke out that ended in no arrests.
A protest of about 50 demonstraters also started for Garner’s father, Eric in Harlem on Monday night. A video showed police having subdued one man as he yelled “I Can’t Breathe,” Garner’s last statement before his death that sparked a major Black Lives Matter rallying cry. An arrest was made during that protest. Another demonstration formed in Staten Island where Garner was killed, but demonstraters dispersed without any incidents.
Sharpton and other activists also renewed their calls for the Department of Justice to bring charges against officer Daniel Pantaleo, who delivered the deadly chokehold that killed Eric Garner.