Tamir,

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry you were born into a society that has constructed a racial caste system.

I’m sorry you were brought into a world where gun manufacturers lobby for open carry for adults but police still shoot first because they saw you, a 12-year-old boy with a toy, as a threatening grown adult.

I’m sorry the dispatcher chose not to tell the officers that the caller knew you had a toy.

I’m sorry they didn’t value your life.

I’m sorry someone who had a history of poor performance, erratic behavior and other red flags was permitted to ‘serve & protect’ your neighborhood.

I’m sorry a group of adults didn’t think it was necessary to even investigate the possibility of guilt.

I’m sorry you were born into a world where this is the norm. That this is common. That people actually go out of their way to justify this type of behavior. That this is accepted by anyone.

I’m sorry you weren’t given an opportunity to actually live your life. A chance to even talk with the police before they killed you.

I’m sorry some white people think, for some inexplicable reason, think they’re superior because of their skin. I’m sorry this has resulted in slavery, Jim Crow laws, redlining, segregation, a fight against affirmative action & other corrective policies, and a vehement opposition to the idea that Black Lives Matter.

I’m sorry that electing one black president after 43 white ones has, to some, corrected America’s many, many past wrongs.

I’m sorry that people, just because they look similar to you, are more likely to be harassed by police, to be charged and convicted of crimes, and to be sentenced to life in prison.

I’m sorry that the video of your murder was disseminated internationally yet your killer walks free today.

I’m sorry our society allows this. I’m sorry we haven’t fixed the problem yet.

I’m sorry that no amount of apologies could ever bring you back.

Tamir, I wish you were here. I wish you could experience growing up. I wish your family could witness you finishing high school. Graduating college. Earning your first job. Starting a family. Growing old.

I wish the world was different.

But it’s not and there’s so much work to be done.

We will work harder. You will not be forgotten.