Why I WILL March for Eric Garner

Response to Kimberly Foster’s Why I Will Not March for Eric Garner

Last week, shielded behind the numbness of my computer screen, I, too, watched Eric Garner take his last breath.  I watched a large, vibrant man’s resolve, self-worth and basic human right to stand up for himself squeezed out of his body in a matter of minutes.  I watched him struggle inside a police officer’s elbow and fall lifeless on a dirty, concrete street corner.  Like many, I shed tears but inside, I bled.  All I could see was my husband’s large build, my brothers’ dark skin, and my beautiful sons’ blind belief in their own freedom. 

At the time, my sons’ played in our playroom.  They chatted incessantly about what superheroes they would pretend to be and what adventures they would take throughout our house as we waited for the rain to stop so we could go outside.  I wiped my tears away and regained my composure, more resolved than ever to be present.  To soak up every drip drop of their beautiful life.  To love them with every piece of myself.  To ensure that I do my part to make the world a better place for them. To make them better than this world.  

You see, almost seven years ago, when the doctor handed me my first beautiful, golden boy – in the midst of the overwhelming love I felt for the new soul placed in my arms, I saw an opportunity.  I saw an opportunity to raise the type of man, I had always hoped to encounter.  The type of man I had unexpectedly found in the man I chose to marry.  Men who didn’t throw bottles at women who spurned their advances. Men who didn’t expose themselves to high school girls on subway platforms.  Men who didn’t call women bitches and hoes.  Men who didn’t chalk up a women’s worth to her reputation or sexual appetite.  Men who valued the little girls they helped create.  

The arduous steps I had taken to that hospital bed had hardened me but holding that innocent life in my arms, I realized who he would be was yet to determined.   I could fight to make sure he was better than the type of man I had once endured.

That afternoon, as I watched Eric Garner’s life slip away from him, all I could think of was what kind of man his mother had dreamed he would become.  Had she watched him play in the house on a rainy day?  Had she loved him with all her might and worked tirelessly to make sure he was a “different” kind of man?  Like me with my husband, had his wife been challenged by his kindness… by his respect? Had his children felt the wholeness of a father who valued their lives? Had his daughter been one of the few brown girls I’ve ever known to call herself “Daddy’s girl”?

Fact is, I don’t know.  The NYPD didn’t stop to question what his mother’s dreams had been for him.  They didn’t stop to ask whether he mattered to his wife or his children.  They didn’t stop to ask whether he had ever objectified a woman or argued for her humanity.  They saw the same dark brown skin I wear every day and decided it didn’t matter.  They saw the same black life, I, as a black woman, have created and took it.  Yanked it away on a crowded city street.  

I do more than shed tears for Eric Garner, I bleed for him.  I bleed with him as I would for my sons.  My husband.  My brothers.  For all the beautiful life born to a black woman’s womb.   As long as black women create black boys and black men create black girls, I will bleed.  Our separateness is a divisive fiction.  A fiction no clearer than when I held my new baby boy in my arms.

Marching for him is the least I can do.

Love and Light,


  1. Yet another all-too-familiar senseless act. I wish that I could do more than march


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