Emerald Snipes-Garner is the youngest daughter of Eric Garner, who was killed last year by police, and his widow, Esaw Garner. Snipes-Garner’s family was thrust into the media spotlight after a bystander captured her father’s final words, “I can’t breathe,” on video.

“He’s with us in our hearts and our spirits,” she said. “It’s still surreal. I wake up thinking I’m going to be in a dream. You never think you’re going to lose your parent. That’s not how it’s supposed to go. But it gets better with time.”

She said he would be very proud of all the strides they are making, and she would tell him, “We started a whole movement in your honor.” She added, “We’re not letting people forget. Don’t forget who Eric Garner is. We need to move as a unit to make change.”

She grew up in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and spent a significant portion of her life helping others. Her first job was at St. Albans Community Living Center in Queens, in the mental health department. She worked with veterans suffering from PTSD as well as other mental issues.

“It made me empathize with people, because you never know what people are going through or their story,” she explained.

She said that after her father’s death, the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in Harlem became her safe haven. She built a strong bond with her coworkers, who’ve helped her cope with her loss. Because they understand what she’s going through, it makes it easier for her to go to work.

“If I worked anywhere else, it would be like ‘you’re just an employee, do what you got to do and go home,’” she said. “With what went on with my father, that’s utterly impossible, to do what you got to do and go home. You have to take some time. This has been the getaway place.”

Her family has founded the Eric Garner Foundation, This Stops Today, which calls for an end to discriminatory “broken windows” policing, as well as for full accountability for all the officers responsible for Garner’s death and all officers who abuse their power in New York communities.

“I’m not only worried about myself,” she said. “I’m worried about what’s going on in the community, the people and the youth. It’s healing for me to help someone else.”

The family is currently waiting for New York state certification of the foundation, which will be in full effect after this week. A major focus of the foundation is young people, and the family will be starting a scholarship program in Garner’s name to provide young people with food, clothes, transportation and books.

Snipes-Garner feels that her responsibility is to focus on supporting young people and enlightening them about the system.

“You guys have to grow up in this world, so what can you do now to change your future?” she asked. “To better your future? What can you learn now that you can teach someone else in the future? I have to teach my daughter and our youth that all police aren’t bad, and if we work together towards change, then we will eventually get a change.”

Her ultimate goal is to have an organization in which people can converse with one another, feel comfortable and become educated about police and the duties their jobs entail.

“To teach the youth to de-escalate a situation will change the outlook,” she said.

She doesn’t want young people to fear becoming a police officer, a firefighter or an EMT.

“Now all they see is what police do wrong, not what police do right,” she said. “I’m not anti-police, I’m just anti-bad police. You have to know what your rights are. That’s my passion, to make sure that when these kids grow up, they know how to conduct themselves.”

This past weekend, a series of events commemorating Garner took place, including a gathering at Canaan Baptist Church for praise and worship hosted by Dominique Sharpton. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer attended.

CoCo Cris, a 10-year-old positive rapper from Harlem, performed his song “Stop the Violence,” in which he asks, “What’s the price of life? For change, why you gotta pay the price?” The song was dedicated to Garner, Mike Brown and others who lost their lives at the hands of police.

Saturday, a rally was held in Cadman Plaza in downtown Brooklyn in front of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The Garner family was joined by Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin; Wanda Johnson, mother of Oscar Grant; Constance Malcolm, mother of Ramarley Graham; and Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown.

“The events turned out the way I wanted,” Snipes-Garner said. “We had a packed house for both events. I feel we really captured the spirit of my father. Everyone was smiling and joyful. That’s the kind of person he was.”