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Sherita Small

In honor of Zamari Pierre-Louis

My son Zamari Pierre-Louis was 16 years old when he was shot and killed in Miami Gardens, Florida, on January 15, 2014. Seven years later, his killing remains unsolved.

Zamari was a student at Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School and wanted to become a preacher following his mentor, Pastor Billy Strange, at Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church. Zamari had just done his trial sermon, preaching for the first time. I remember that “if he wasn’t in church, he’d be missed.”

Zamari and I were home talking, and he said, “Mama, I’m going up the street.”

Thirty minutes later, somebody knocked on my door and said Zamari been shot. I had let him get a tattoo, something he’d been begging for and that’s how they identified him…by the tattoo.

Living without Zamari has taken a toll on my health. After his death, I suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes and depression.

Everything in your life changes. You try to raise your child the right way and somebody just comes and takes them from you because they’re not raised the right way. The same people who murdered my son, they’re still murdering people because of the guns.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.