In the wake of the heartbreakingly depressing demise of Erica Garner Snipes, the fearless revolutionary-activist daughter of our fallen brother, Eric Garner (who was murdered in 2014 via a merciless NYPD chokehold as he uttered the fateful and final words…”I can’t breathe”) – it is important to weigh the supreme costs of fighting for our own freedom from oppression.
The tragic irony of potentially losing a valiant, 27-year old freedom fighter who galvanized a grassroots force against police brutality in honor of her martyred father, is not lost on a people stunned by the tragic loss of so many of our best warriors – our youth – in arguably the prime of their promising, young lives. This tragic turn of events does beg the question of: how long must Blacks continue to pay the supreme sacrifice of losing our precious lives in the God-given and righteous quest for liberation from the evils of White Supremacy?
The multiple ways in which racism manifests in America – whether as racially profiled inspired violence by police, institutionalized discrimination, countless racial micro-aggressions or socioeconomic disadvantage – all have unique, detrimental effects on the mental and physical health of the oppressed. According to Grier & Cobbs, “Blacks bent double by oppression have stored energy which will be released in the form of rage — black rage, apocalyptic and final”. Yet, until this culminating moment, the psychologically harmful and deleterious effects of racism and institutionalized oppression have increasingly contributed to our own demise as a people. The resounding conclusion is a sobering reminder that ‘Freedom ain’t Free’…
In Erica’s case, the weight of bearing the grief-stricken loss of her father’s life compounded by the daily stress of selfless, activist driven, freedom fighting on our collective behalf have taken a collective toll on her fragile health. In many ways, an irreparably broken heart is as much at fault for her present health condition as is the life-threatening asthma leading to the massive heart attack which has reportedly left this young wife and mother brain-dead in Brooklyn, NY’s Woodhull Medical Center.
The fact that the Garner family must, once again, bear the loss of a loved one’s life for simply being FREE?…is an unthinkable pattern that must no longer be perpetuated by those of us who valiantly fight for liberation. We must not allow the price of freedom to equate to sacrificing the very lives of our freedom fighters.