Hundreds gathered here on Nov. 20 to remember Tamir Rice.
Cleveland cops had brutally shot and killed the 12-year-old boy on Nov. 22 five years ago. It happened just seconds after officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback pulled up to see the youngster playing with a BB gun. When Tamir’s siblings arrived on the scene, they were handcuffed and put in the back of a police vehicle. His mother, Samaria Rice, was not allowed near her son. She was told he was “evidence.”
Neither of the cops was charged or even fired for killing Tamir. Loehmann was fired much later — not for murder, but for lying on his job application about his past employment record.
Samaria Rice is a tower of strength in the ongoing fight for justice — not only for her son but for every parent’s child who has been the victim of racist police brutality. She has kept Tamir’s memory alive over the past five years.
This week, Rice worked with local and national artists and activists to present a powerful event, “Art, Activism and the Legacy of Tamir Rice,” at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Many artists, moved by the tragic death of Tamir, have created works of art in response. Artists who spoke about and shared their work included filmmakers Korstiaan Vandiver and Danielle Lee; visual artists Theaster Gates, Sheila Pree Bright, Michael Rakowitz and Amanda D. King; installation and performance artist EJ Hill; poet Kisha Nicole Foster; dancer Lexy Lattimore; and spoken word artist Jasiri X.
Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi emceed the program. Other speakers included the Rev. Dr. Jawanza K. Colvin, Fred Hampton Jr., Bakari Kitwana and Samaria Rice. Rice announced plans to build the Tamir Rice Afrocentric Cultural Center on Cleveland’s East Side. Some $50,000 has already been raised or pledged for the center.
Tamir Rice is not forgotten.