Tamir Rice’s mom remembers her loving, athletic and Lego adoring son as she ensures his legacy by creating The Tamir Rice Foundation, which advocates for police reform and The Tamir Rice Afrocentric Cultural Center, which houses after-school programs focused on tutoring, mentoring and arts, as well as music and dance

Written by: Kay Montgomery – June 26th, 2020 9:40pm pst

When a black person is killed by the police there’s the usual set of events that follow – the media reports, a video may be released, we watch the mother mourn and we see pictures of the white cops. If there was a video or still picture of the murder, we see it replayed again and again. Sometimes the vibrant life that was, now exists solely in the frame in which that life was taken. But we know that is not the only way to remember those who died at the hands of police, because the truth is they also lived a life. They were fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, best friends, little brothers, play cousins…

Among the many articles, opinions, and false narratives about how he died, we wanted to celebrate Tamir Rice – his life and legacy.

His mom, Samaria Rice detailed his love for what are many young boys favorite things,  

He still watched Curious George cartoons, and played Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video games. He drew cartoon characters he saw on TV.”

Tamir was also athletic and excelled at a variety of sports.

“He didn’t just excel at basketball. Tamir could throw a football with a tight spiral, swim in the deep end of the pool and hold his own on a soccer field.” 

Samaria told of how Tamir still got spooked when watching scary movies with his 16-year-old brother, and would crawl into bed with his mother at night. What mother hasn’t opened her bed to her tween who’s afraid of things that go bump in the night as a result of a movie, which they swore to you they could handle and that they weren’t afraid of?

And what is more childhood than toys? A month before his murder, Samaria bought Tamir a Lego model airplane, typically thought of as a gift for perhaps a younger child.

“He said ‘I don’t care, I want it,’” she said, mimicking a child’s whine and giggling. “He wanted them Legos, so I bought them.”

In 2016, Rice founded the Tamir Rice Foundation in her son’s honor. The organization’s mission is to advocate for police reform by advocating to change laws, and implement new policies for the system with community oversight for police accountability and community reform dialogue.

Tamir was involved in arts and crafts programs through the rec centers, he sculpted pottery and crocheted for his mother. As a direct reflection of his interests, Samaria opened the Tamir Rice Afrocentric Cultural Center, which will house after-school programs focussed on tutoring, mentoring and arts, and also include music and dance. 

“I am building a legacy,” said Rice. “To show people my strength, and to show people I have not given up. I have to do this for him. I am his voice.”

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It’s been nearly six years since 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot to death by a white Cleveland police officer while playing with a toy gun in the park with his sister. Timothy Loehmann, the officer who murdered this child within seconds of arriving at the scene, was fired two and a half years later, not for the shooting, but for lying on his job application. Tamir should be turning 18 today, but his life was violently ended at the hands of police. I drew this piece to honor his memory. . . . From the @tamirricefoundation: “Tamir Rice was born on June 25, 2002 in Cleveland, Ohio, the youngest of four children. Tamir loved to be with his brothers and sisters, and had a smile that would brighten any room. Tamir also loved the arts. The process of creative self-expression brought him joy.” . . #tamirrice #tamir #happybirthdaytamir #justiceforbreonnataylor #justiceforahmaud #justiceforgeorgefloyd #justiceforelijahmcclain #blacklivesmatter #blmart #defundthepolice #defundpolice #abolishthepolice

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About The Author:

Kay Montgomery is a host and writer for Black Hollywood Live who loves sitcoms and is currently embroiled in a vicious debate on Bracketology. She is A Different World devotee and although she has a masters degree in Education from The University of Redlands, she would have given anything to go to fictional Hillman College.

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