As protests continue around the country following the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, the family of Eric Garner, who died in 2014 after police put him in a chokehold, has released an impassioned song dedicated to the memory of those killed in acts of violence over the past week.
Lending Garner’s well-documented final words to the song’s title, the late 43-year-old’s family calls for an end to police brutality throughout the emotional track, “I Can’t Breathe.” The song primarily features vocals by Garner’s sister, Ellisha Flagg, while brother Steven Flagg raps several bars in the song’s back half.
“I can hear my brother crying, ‘I can’t breathe.’ Now I’m in this struggle and I can’t leave. We all know the solution, but they blame you and me. We ain’t gonna stop until love is free,” Ellisha belts in the song’s chorus. She continues: “Every man has a troubled side that he just can’t deny. But if only he can get a try, then he may touch the sky. Most times it’ll get hard, but once they lose the only love that they have. I know and you know a life can change as the wind blows.”
Speaking to Billboard, Garner’s sister said the track is “dedicated to the struggle everyone is going through.”
When Garner died, he left behind a wife, six children, and three grandchildren. Erica Garner, his widow, founded the Garner Way Foundation after her husband’s death, a nonprofit dedicated to ending police brutality and injustice. The officer, Daniel Pantaleo, who was filmed as he put Garner in the fatal chokehold, was not indicted by a Staten Island jury following the incident.
“I Can’t Breathe” is now available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Apple Music ahead of its July 16 release to all music outlets. Listen to the track in full below.