Emerald Garner is thinking about her father, Eric, this holiday season. But among the many happy memories she has of him, his death isn’t one of them. Eric Garner died this past summer in an NYPD officer’s chokehold, footage of which quickly went viral and put him in a long line of black lives ended prematurely due to state violence.
"I can’t tell him what I want to tell him," the younger Garner says in a recent video. "I can’t speak to him, I can’t let him know that I love him anymore."
Her heart-wrenching message was filmed in a video released this week by Blackout for Human Rights, a coalition of activists, artists and concerned citizens that has come together in the wake of protests in Ferguson, Mo. The coalition’s organizers are calling on viewers to stand in solidarity with Emerald this holiday season by boycotting major retailers.
The coalition describes itself as a "network of concerned citizens who commit their energy and resources to immediately address the staggering level of human rights violations against fellow Americans throughout the United States." Its members include well-known filmmakers like Ryan Coogler ("Fruitvale Station") and Ava DuVernay ("Selma," "Middle of Nowhere"), actor Jesse Williams ("Grey’s Anatomy"), musician Childish Gambino and advocacy organization Color of Change.
It’s estimated that black buying power will reach $1 trillion by 2015 and organizers hope that this boycott will underscore the economic significance of black people whose lives are routinely threatened by law enforcement. The boycott is the first of several planned actions. You can find more on Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook.