A mother’s plea for change after her son’s murder by police.
On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner was arrested for selling single cigarettes. During his arrest, he was choked by a New York City Police Department officer and later died. The video of his murder has been viewed millions of times, and his name has been added to a long list of other black Americans who have died needlessly at the hands of law enforcement officers. In this emotional memoir, Carr, Garner’s mother, shares the story of her son’s life leading up to the moment of his death, describing the type of child he was and the man he became and the aftermath of her own life after the tragedy. In straightforward, sometimes repetitive prose, she demonstrates how Garner’s death changed her from a passive grandmother content to work her job as a subway train operator to an “unplanned activist.” Slowly, she learned how to speak in front of large crowds and share her message with other parents who have experienced similar tragedies. “All across the country,” she writes, “people were relating to me and understanding and sharing their concern and condolences….It felt good being out of New York and finding that so many people felt the same way, that things had gotten out of hand and the police were going too far….There needed to be…better education and more accountability.” In that vein, she discusses the need for a “checks-and-balances system” within police forces across the country. As she gained recognition and a powerful voice, she became engaged in Hillary Clinton’s run for the White House and was invited to speak at a variety of events. (Clinton provides the foreword.) Along with her personal moments, Carr includes numerous pointers on how to become an activist and lessons she learned by trial and error, many of which will be useful for aspiring activists.
A heartfelt book from a mother who “will keep on talking and telling my story as long as people will listen.”