This Woman's Powerful Reason For Supporting Bernie Sanders

Photo: Amanda Meyers/AP Photo.
Update: Erica Garner spoke out about the making of the ad on her personal website, saying that Sanders' team allowed her full creative control of the video and message.

“They had a totally different idea of what should be done," Garner said, "but true to form with Senator Sanders, he listened to me [and] didn’t tell me he knew better and I was not practical; and this is what we produced.”

She elaborated on her backing of his campaign by saying that his willingness to let her speak on her own terms reinforced her support.

“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?'”
This story was originally published at 12:35 p.m.

Erica Garner, the adult daughter of the Black man whose dying words, “I can’t breathe,” became a slogan for the Black Lives Matter movement, has endorsed Bernie Sanders in a moving television ad.

“Family should be important to everyone,” Erica Garner says in the ad, titled “It’s Not Over.” She describes raising her 6-year-old daughter, who’s just learning about Rosa Parks and racism in America. “She said, ‘But those are in the old days, right, Mommy?’ And I had to explain to her that it’s not really over.”

“This is what Mommy is — I’m an activist,” she says. “The same thing Martin Luther King was, he fought for our rights, that’s the same thing I’m doing in honor of her Pop Pop.”

Garner’s father, Eric, died in 2014 at the hands of a white police officer. During an arrest for allegedly selling “loosie” cigarettes, Officer Daniel Pantaleo put Garner in a fatal chokehold. His last words were “I can’t breathe.” In December of the same year, a grand jury declined to indict Officer Pantaleo for Garner’s death.

Since her father’s death, his daughter has become an activist for racial equality and against police brutality. “No one gets to see their parent’s last moments, and I was able to see my dad die on national TV,” Erica Garner says in the ad. “I don’t want the world to forget what happened to my dad.”

“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.”
Via Bernie 2016 YouTube.

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