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7 Days of Kwanzaa: Nia

 Habari Gani?! Nia! Purpose

We must restore our people to our greatness by developing one another and our communities.

Today's post is bittersweet. While we celebrate Kwanzaa, we have lost one of the greats: Erica Garner. Erica was the daughter of Eric Garner, an unarmed man who was placed in a chokehold and killed at the hands of Staten Island police. Erica made it her life's work to fight for justice and to call out the injustice of the New York Police Department. Just before the holidays, She suffered a massive heart attack that led to an asthma attack. The asthma attack led to brain damage and a coma due to lack of oxygen. 

In other words, Erica couldn't breathe.

The haunting reality of Erica's lack of oxygen, like her father, ultimately led to her death at just 27 years of age. She was also a mother. 

I am 27 years old. 

The reality that Erica suffered a heart attack from the weight of the work scares me. As someone who stands on the front lines of justice, this stress is real. However, it is how we manage the stress that will make all the difference.

And so, for this day of Kwanzaa, as we uplift our communities, let us not forget to take care of ourselves. The work is heavy. The load is burdensome. But every now and again we must take time to care for ourselves. There are more and more cases of strokes and heart attacks that are happening amongst people under the age of 35. If we are going to fulfill our purposes, we must be healthy. 

Erica fulfilled her purpose as she fought for justice. What are you fighting for? How does it tie into your purse? Our collective purpose? But more importantly, how are you caring for yourself in the midst of doing the work. 

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