Samaria Rice

How Tamir Rice’s Death Will Heroically Haunt The System That Killed Him

Tamir Rice is turning sixteen later this year — and for most teens — that’s definitely a milestone birthday worth a handful of festivities. In the case of the twelve-year-old Black boy who was fatally shot back in 2014 — his celebration is going to be a bit unconventional.

I haven’t ever gotten over the tragic murder of the Cleveland, Ohio native— who was mistaken for a grown Black male — wielding a gun in a local park — by cowardly White cops — who made no effort to thoroughly examine the target.

They lazily assumed he was up to no good — and pumped bullets into the stomach of a child — and then watched him bleed to death as they plotted how to escape the consequences of their deadly actions.

Tamir Rice was killed because he was Black.

When White folks demand a full description of what White privilege entails — it infuriates me to no end. It’s as if they’re purposely blocking out the stream of evidence — featuring bloody montages of bodies — littering streets — parks — sidewalks or anywhere that will host the scenes of a crime.

If that young lad had been White with head a full of curls and eyes blue enough to blind the system into coercion — his activities at the recreational center in a Cleveland suburb wouldn’t have ended with his excruciating death. The cops would’ve casually spotted him and kept on driving without even the slightest interest.

But — thanks to the loving mission of his bereaved mother— Tamir Rice’s death will heroically haunt the system.

Samaria Rice is now a forty-one-year-old burgeoning activist who is dedicated to the lifelong assignment of honoring her late son’s systemic demise.

She’s determined to cultivate an incentive-driven climate for the Black youth — who are considered endangered species in America — and therefore need to be nurtured and protected — at all costs.

The Tamir Rice Afrocentric Cultural Center is going to be the enduring legacy for the Black boy who was too Black to live the long prosperous existence that his White counterparts are seamlessly afforded. It will also serve as safe haven for youngsters that need to be groomed for a reality that they didn’t ask for — but still have to successfully navigate in order to stay functionally alive.

Samaria Rice’s unexpected loss is the nightmare that mothers don’t ever want realized — but since she was chosen to bear that burden — her reason for being has been transformed into a large space that’s located at 6117 St. Clair Avenue in Cleveland.

Her vision includes gifting Black children the freedom of artistic expression which will translate into every facet of the genre. There will be paintings — the sound of African drums beating — angelic strings of violins accompanying the movements of dancers — and rehearsals for play productions.

Tamir’s mother wants to beat the system that murdered her son and countless others like him — by providing Black children in her community — the opportunities she wasn’t given.

They will be taught how to “dissect and participate in political systems” through mentorship and the tangible investment in a future that will hopefully yield the results — that will make this ambitious project worthwhile.

Of course there are many who doubt that a woman with only “an 8th grade education” — can possess the business acumen to pull this off — but Rice remains steadfast in her quest to honor her dead son — by working towards the goal of making sure that Black mothers are spared the duty of burying their children.

“I don’t pay no attention to them.” “They can’t beat me for the simple fact that their child wasn’t killed by the state. I’m going to do it through the grace of God and I’m going to do it because the city of Cleveland gave me no choice but to do it as far as building my son’s legacy and keeping his legacy alive.”

Rice is a mother to a Black son who died because the system has taught law enforcement the basics of how Black lives don’t matter — and as a result none of us are spared.

Black women can be assaulted in full view of the public without interference — Black men can be forced into handcuffs for simply sitting in a coffee shop — and Black kids can’t play in a public park without the heat of cops — who will callously shoot them down without cause.

Part of the grieving process for those who are healthy enough to survive the worst of it — is to become occupied with the process of progressiveness by turning a horrific event into a meaningful tribute — that will breed the testament of how bad things can turn into something beautiful.

In honor of Tamir Rice’s sixteenth birthday — his mother is planning on throwing a benefit titled — “Sweet Sixteen” — and it will be open to anybody who wants to help honor her son through musical performances and poetry readings.

Rice is counting on raising at least $21,000 — which will be applied to outfitting the building for the cultural center — that the Tamir Rice Foundation (founded in 2016) acquired in March. The goal is to have the center ready for its grand opening by 2019.

It has to be noted that Rice did get a hefty monetary compensation ($6 million dollars) stemming from the wrongful death lawsuit filed against the city of Cleveland — and the two cops who murdered her child in cold blood. Her victory was notable since it was the largest settlement of its kind.

Despite her big win — Rice was not consoled by the big check — that was substantially reduced to $1.8 million after the subtraction of lawyers fees and other miscellaneous costs.

As with many cases of this nature — the family of the victims are never granted the appropriate treatment they deserve from a judicial system — that somehow always manages to evade atoning for gross negligence — especially when Black lives are involved.

The Tamir Rice Foundation has become the launching pad for what will hopefully be a facility that facilitates the blueprint for young impressionable minds to soak up — and eventually use as ammunition against a climate that is still programmed for their destruction.

Samaria Rice is also on a quest to secure her own ambition which will expand into public service — as she masters how to “dissect the system” in order to effectively dismantle the biases that are holding people of color hostage. There’s interest in “learning the chain of command” by studying the job descriptions of “a council person” — “a mayor” — or “a representative.”

Basically Samaria Rice wants to be heard — loud and clear — which means that she has no intentions of remaining in the background — cowering under the stress of her misfortune.

“I gotta do something, you know.” They ain’t gonna hear me out…I ain’t got time for that. That’s why I’ve got to channel my stuff to the youth because they’re going to be our future. I may not see it in my lifetime, but the center will make sure it gets done, that’s for sure.”

We have a strong feeling that Rice will live to see her dreams come true.

And if you share my sentiment — you can help out by utilizing the information for the fundraiser that will honor the memory of a Black child named Tamir Rice.

He’s growing up to be a fine example of what love can amass — when we force the system to recognize why Black lives Matter — through the gorgeous fortitude of a Black mother.

Tickets for June 14th fundraiser at the Cleveland Museum of Art are $55 and contributions to the renovation are also being collected online.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store