On Nov. 22, 2014, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was snatched away from his family after a Cleveland Police officer killed him. But instead of focusing on the violent acts of unaccountable police officers, NewsOne joins his family and loved ones in honoring Tamir’s life on this eighth day of remembrance.
Tamir would have been 20 years old. And while he will unfortunately never grow into adulthood, his family has honored the legacy and possibility of what his future should have been.
Led by his mother, Samaria Rice, the family has continued to support family-led advocacy efforts addressing police reform and violence. An update on the Tamir Rice Foundation Instagram account shared progress on the Tamir Rice Afrocentric Cultural Center.
Tamir Rice Afrocentric Cultural Center aims to “enrich the lives of children, so they grow into adulthood with a strong connection to self and community and increased motivation for civic engagement.”
Per the website, the center will provide arts, cultural, educational and civic programming for youth ages 10-19. The foundation is currently accepting donations to complete the renovations.
The Department of Justice also declined to pursue charges in Tamir’s killing. Samaria challenged the decision. Her efforts were also supported by a letter from dozens of legal scholars firmly suggesting the agency reevaluate its statutory interpretation in regards to charging police for violating people’s civil rights under the color of law.
In July, the Rice family dedicated a butterfly garden at Cudell Park on the site where Tamir was killed.
“This butterfly garden was created by Tamir’s community, who helped to turn it into something beautiful for better memories going forward, for the park, the Rice Family and the community,” reads a marker at the site.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the butterfly garden, Samaria spoke of the pain she endured losing her young son.
As his mother, the pain is so real. I will be in pain for the rest of my life. With my pain, I was able to turn it into power by being Tamir’s voice and seeing the vision for our community by being in service to the people, especially our youth, me and my family struggled daily, but through the grace of God, we’re taking one day at a time and living the best that we can.
This butterfly memorial is very important to me and my family. This is the last memory I have of my son playing in the park, as children should be able to play in parks in America.