How Erica Garner Inspired the #LoudBlackGirls Hashtag

By Kenrya Rankin Jul 15, 2016

In reaction to a particularly tumultuous time of police violence enacted against Black Americans that saw a Baton Rouge Police Department officer kill Alton Sterling and a St. Anthony (Minnesota) Police Department officer kill Philando Sterling, President Barack Obama held a town hall last night (July 14). Called “The President and the People: A National Conversation,” the event focused on race relations, policing and criminal justice.

The town hall, which you can watch below, brought together the families of people who were killed by police officers, as well as the survivors of police officers who died in the line of duty. Sterling’s 15-year-old son, Cameron was there, as was Castile’s finance, Diamond Reynolds, via satellite.

Erica Garner—who has devoted herself to advocating for Black lives since the day her father, Eric Garner, was choked to death on tape by New York Police Department officer Daniel Pantaleo—was also in the room. The New York Times reports that Garner left her seat after the taping, yelling that she had been used to bring attention to the event and denied her promised opportunity to address the president:

“I was railroaded!” Ms. Garner shouted, noting that the event fell two years after her father’s death. “That’s what I have to do? A Black person has to yell to be heard?”

Later, Ms. Garner took to Twitter to complain that tough questions had been banned. She condemned the event as a “farce” that was “nothing short of full exploitation of Black pain and grief.”

“They shut out ALL real and hard questions,” Ms. Garner added, calling the exchange “a sham.”

Garner was later granted a private audience with the president, but she told BuzzFeed that she felt like she had to be “belligerent just to be heard.”

From Garner: “I’m tired and I’m exhausted. I’ve exhausted every avenue trying to pursue justice for my dad. I’ve spoken to a rep from the DOJ. I’ve spoken on panels—whoever you can think of I’ve spoken with them. I’m tired of having this conversation. I’m tired. And I think the only way do this is to shut shit down. That’s not what I wanted to do or intend to do, but it’s a shame that I have to be loud and act ‘ghetto’ to get my point across. But I will be not be used and I will not be silent.”

That statement resonated with social activist Feminista Jones, and she reacted via the following stream of tweets, ultimately encouraging Black women to post about times they lifted their own voices.












And so they did, as Black women around the world began posting about the life-affirming times they used their voices to speak the truth. Follow the #LoudBlackGirls hashtag (and be careful not to feed the trolls).

Watch the full town hall below.