God of Lament, tonight I pray for Erica Garner, who worked to end police brutality after her father, Eric Garner, was choked to death by a cop in 2014. Erica Garner is in a coma and has been declared brain dead after suffering a heart attack.
She is 27 years old. She has two children.
I pray for perfect healing for Erica Garner. I pray stable, enduring, loving care for her children. I pray comfort for the Garner family and community.
For the rest of us, I ask that we be bold enough and honest enough to lament this terrible loss as part of the sweeping harm of racism and inequality. Erica Garner was subjected to enormous stress—as are so many black women—due to structures of oppression. Grant us the courage to truly repent, first by acknowledging the brokenness of our social structures, recognizing the ways in which we benefit from them, suffer from them, ignore them, and let them continue to operate. The second aspect of repentance is a course correction. Grant us the will and bravery to change, replace, transform, dismantle, or disable the systems of oppression that shape our common life. May we honor both Erica and Eric Garner by committing ourselves to making the world more just for the next generation. Amen.