In a heartbreaking new video, Erica Garner—the daughter of Eric Garner, who was strangled to death by by NYPD officers in 2014—announced her endorsement for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Narrating the video, which features footage of her own daughter, Erica Garner speaks frankly about her experiences with the criminal justice system.
“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 ad. “There’s no other person that’s speaking about this. People are dying. This is real. This is not TV. We need a president that’s going to talk about it. I believe Bernie Sanders is a protester. He’s not scared to go against the criminal justice system. And that’s why I’m for Bernie.”
The Black Lives Matter movement and the fight against police brutality have become lightning-rod issues for presidential candidates this election season. Both of the leading Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton and Sanders, have been forced to address related concerns on a near-constant basis during debates and interviews. Sanders, however, has been arguably more vocal about the economic and political marginalization of black communities. After her father’s death, Garner has become a fervent political activist and a frequent face at Black Lives Matter protests.
“I was able to see my dad die on national TV. They don’t know what they took from us. He wasn’t just someone that no one cared for him. Or no one loved him. He was loved dearly,” she says in the video. “I’m just trying to get the truth out there, to tell his side of the story. He was being the loving, caring man that he was and he was murdered.”
In a blog post on her website, Garner offers more context about the video, and how she got it made with the Sanders campaign.
“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,” she wrote. “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?”