Today marks the 5th anniversary that Tamir Rice was stolen from us. I’ve struggled with what to say regarding this heinous reality for 5 years. For 4 of these 5 years I’ve watched his Mother say what needed to be said every single time. As an organizer I went to Cleveland unsure of how I could help but feeling called to as a fellow Ohioan. I had no idea that Ms. Rice would demand to join me not only as Tamir’s mother, but as a organizer. Hand in hand,struggle through struggle we’ve been inseparable ever since. While many attempted to write Ms.Rice off and out of any movement forward she has stayed steadfast with goals of her own.
In 2016 when presidential candidates looked for endorsements and support Ms.Rice abstained in honor of her son who wasn’t a priority for what felt like anyone but her. Subsequently she was excluded from a presidential candidates new name for the mothers who’s children had been murdered at the hands of the police, “Mothers of The Movement”. Never interested in endorsing a candidate but constantly demanding to know what kind of political system could allow the murder of her child. I joined her in that sentiment as I watched my peers march on with their political and cultural aspirations on display without any regard to the demands of political beliefs that have fueled the movements that gave them access to a platform to perform.
When I told my peers in the formidable movements that acquired majority of the resources dedicated for Black organizing that we had to bring our movement to Cleveland to support I was met with hesitancy as some believed supporting the families was too difficult. I refused to believe that was true and created the campaigns #YearWithOutTamir and #McgintyMustGo and charged the individuals with access to millions of dollars to help us in doing something to support what was clearly needed. Regardless of these outcomes she always remained clear of her goal to remain the Mother of the movement for Tamir.
As organizations and people have come and gone Ms.Rice’s motivation for protecting, and honoring her son has stayed her number 1 goal. When I first met her she told me she wanted to take action and that she wanted to create The Tamir Rice Afro Cultural Center to support Cleveland’s youth and because she wasn’t done raising and nourishing Tamir. A woman of her word she has done just that.
I’m deeply protective of those I love and struggle often with sharing them with the world. In the picture as my Mother watches over us and Ms. Rice strokes my hair I am reminded that they are just as fiercely protective of me as I am of them. On this 5th anniversary it felt important to share with you that Ms. Rice has began establishing The Tamir Rice Afro Cultural Center. It also felt important to share that although Tamir’s life was taken it is his Mother who is still breathing for him in this life. And even though there are attempts being made to isolate and make her feel alone that she is protected and loved. And that she is a protector who also loves.
It is my prayer that Tamir is resting in forever peace.
My ask today is that we may all join his mother in continuing to honor her son and the children of Cleveland.
My love to The Rice family. My love to my Sam I Am. I love you!
To honor Tamir today please donate to the legacy fund established with The Cleveland Foundation to honor his memory.