My dear Tamir,
As I prepare myself to accept all the love and support from the world on what would have been your 17th birthday, I wish you were here just so I could hug you and kiss your cheeks again.
You were the true meaning of a mama’s boy. And you are so much more than a cause, you are my child. You were, and will always be, my baby.
In every city I go, I speak your name, my son. This past weekend in Chicago, the gazebo where Timothy Loehmann ended your brief, but beautiful life became an art installation, lovingly restructured by my friend and collaborator Theaster Gates. I fought for that to happen, because I will never let the world forget that Cleveland, Ohio, allowed one of its police officers to lynch my baby. I won’t let them look away.
This is what I’ve learned since you’ve been physically gone: We all have to keep fighting against injustice. More Black people need to become involved in local politics and gain a deeper understanding of how city governments work. We can create change in cities across this nation. We can. Our pain, and our determination, handed down from generation to generation of grieving mothers have made it so.
Listen to your mama talking, baby. My own consciousness has grown since you were stolen so brutally from me. No mother, no father, no sister or brother should ever go through what we went through—and are still going through.
We miss you so much.
This year, the Tamir Rice Foundation will be hosting a community art contest in honor of your 17th brithday. The theme is “What does hate and love look like in your community?” You loved to draw, so I decided to let the children draw to express themselves.
Your brother, sisters, and I will forever love and miss you, but we will never stop honoring your life and building your legacy—and your death will never be in vain; I won’t allow it. And I know you’ll be looking down on us, baby. I know you will.
Ask me how I know? I feel you when I breathe.
Happy Birthday, Tamir. I look forward to remembering and honoring and cherishing this day for years to come.
Your mommy *in your voiceShare :