Erica Garner, the daughter of the late Eric Garner, endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in an online video hours before Thursday’s debate between Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
Eric Garner died while in a police chokehold after he was targeted for selling untaxed cigarettes. After his death last year, protesters nationwide adopted Garner’s last words, “I can’t breathe,” which became their chief rallying cry.
In the video, Erica Garner says her father “was murdered” and she has “protested every Tuesday and Thursday” since her father’s death. She says she hopes to be a “representative for people throughout the nation.”
“Martin Luther King died for this. Malcom X died for this. And who were they? They were protesters. I’m behind anyone who’s going to listen and speak up for us, and I think we need to believe in a leader like Bernie Sanders,” she says in the video. “I believe Bernie Sanders is a protester… he’s not scared to up against the criminal justice system… and that’s why I’m for Bernie.”
On her personal blog, Garner praised the Sanders campaign for giving her full creative control of the endorsement video:
Last week we made a commercial to express to the world exactly why I am endorsing Bernie Sanders for President. The Sanders team allowed me and my team full creative control of this video so this message is 100% my message and my views! They had a totally different idea of what should be done, but true to form with Senator Sanders, he listened to me, didn’t tell me he knew better and I was not practical and this is what we produced.
The Senator didn’t reach out to me all of a sudden because he needs help with Black people. He didn’t put out a press conference announcing that we would be working together. He didn’t force me to frame my support of him around a subject matter that special interest groups that support him can get behind. They said we are glad to have your support, how do you want to plug in. You will see a lot of Black leaders handing out endorsements, think to yourself, have they historically been a rubber stamp for the establishment? I hope this expresses why I think Bernie is our guy!
The Sanders campaign released the video on the day Clinton received the endorsement of the political arm of the Congressional Black Caucus and as a federal grand jury reportedly started to hear evidence to determine if the officer who put Garner in the chokehold violated his civil rights.