Each year gets more difficult, Gray said. Every anniversary she is haunted by what could have been: She wonders what he would be doing. What would he look like if he had had a chance to grow into a young man? Would he have gone to college? Would he have had a child? Would it be a daughter or a son?
“Every year it gets harder and harder,” she said as she prepared for a prayer vigil to honor her son’s memory. “It’s been a hard five years, it’s been really rough. The older he gets, the harder it gets for me.”
She talked about how Kiki, her nickname for him, rode around the neighborhood on his Big Wheels bike before his feet could reach the pedals. How the first thing he would always ask her was what she was cooking when he came home. How she named her son Kimani because it meant sailor and adventurer, and she thought her son would travel the world.
“He was his mom’s hope and joy. This is what the NYPD took from this family, from this community that night,” said Liem, the co-director of the Justice Committee, a social justice organization that helped organize the event. “We’re here to say that this has to stop.”...