Eric Garner's name rings loud and clear. A year after he died at the hands of police, after being stopped for selling untaxed cigarettes in his home borough of Staten Island, Garner's continues to be one of the most visible cases of police brutality in recent history. His last words, "I can't breathe," galvanized thousands into protest and have come to symbolize the ongoing battle for justice not only for his own death but for the dozens of other black men and women who have been killed by police with little to no recourse. Though his family recently accepted a $5.9 million settlement from the city, the police were not required to accept responsibility in the wrongful death suit.
Still, Eric Garner was more than a victim. The short documentary A Year Without Eric Garner, produced by digital studio Old Friend for AJ+, is an important reminder that, before he became a symbol of something he didn't ask for, Garner was a husband, a father, and a grandfather. In the doc, his wife Esau and his daughter Erica remember him and his legacy while vowing to continue to fight for justice. Just as importantly, though, they humanize him beyond the slogan. It feels like every day that we watch in horror as yet more bodies fall victim to police, but it's easy to forget that the grand sum of those lives is greater than a hashtag. Watch the short doc above. You will probably cry.