Eric Garner passed away on Staten Island in 2014 after being placed in an chokehold by a New York police officer using excessive force. The incident was caught on a cell phone video, in which Garner is heard saying, “I can’t breathe!” Footage of the incident quickly circulated the internet and fueled a national debate about police brutality and unfair treatment of Blacks by law enforcement. A grand jury later decided not to indict the NYPD officer involved in Garner’s death. This incident, along with the deaths of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, gained global attention and became focal points of the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight for racial justice in the United States.
Now that the presidential campaign is underway and the Democratic candidates are trying to sway minority voters, presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders’ campaign released the powerful new advertisement “It’s Not Over,” featuring the daughter of Eric Garner, Erica Garner, in support of the Vermont Senator.
The four-minute visual shows Erica Garner, who became an activist after her father’s death, praising Sanders for confronting the criminal justice system. It shows a scene from one of Sanders’s rallies, where he says: “It is not acceptable to me that we have seen young, Black men walk down streets in this country, be beaten and be killed unjustly.”
The ad gets its title from a discussion Erica recounts sharing with her 6-year-old daughter, Alyssa. Garner told Alyssa the story of Rosa Parks and her refusal to get out of her seat at the front of the bus for a white person.
“‘But those are in the old days, right Mommy?'” Garner recalls her daughter asking. “And I had to explain to her that it’s not really over.”
Erica goes on to say, “I’m behind anyone who is going to listen and speak up for us, and I think we need to believe in a leader like Bernie Sanders. 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.”
This seems like an attempt for Bernie Sanders to target a younger demographic of minorities to widen his appeal among Black voters. Over the years, the Clintons have built a strong following in Black communities in the South as well as on Capitol Hill. With elections right around the corner, Sanders is holding nothing back to win the presidential election and win the minority vote.