Amandla! remembers and honors Tamir Rice, who was just a 12 year old child in the sixth grade when he was murdered in cold blood at the hands of a racist policeman.According to The Tamire Rice Afrocentric Cultural Center, “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.”
Tamir went to play in a nearby park, playing with an airsoft-style gun that only fired plastic bullets. The toy gun itself was not Tamir’s, as his mother was staunchly against the ownership of any kind of guns, rather, the airsoft gun belonged to one of his older friends who let Tamir hold the toy pistol. After he finished playing with the toy, Tamir tucked the BB gun away sat down at a nearby picnic table, one of the last actions he would take before his death. A Cleveland Ohio police car barreled up to the gazebo Tamir was standing in and within two seconds, police fired on the child.
Tragically, Tamir Rice was shot and his last moments were spent slowly dying on the cold ground. The officer who murdered Tamir Rice, Timothy Loehman and the so-called training officer who drove within feet of the child and failed to notify dispatch upon the reckless cops’ actions, Frank Garmback, did not check Tamir’s vital signs or perform any first aid in the critical minutes after they shot the 12 year old dying child, allowing Tamir to suffer. Even though a fire station was just one block away, it would take eight minutes before an emergency medical team would finally arrive.
When Tamir’s older sister, Tajai, aged 14, came running to the scene minutes later to comfort her dying brother, the white officers savagely tackled her to the ground, put her in handcuffs and terrorized her by keeping her in the rear car as her baby brother lay dying in front her. According to the New York Times, when Tamir’s understandably distraught mother, Samaria Rice arrived, the officers also threatened to arrest her unless she calmed down. Tamir was loved. His community knew Tamir was known as a boisterous, well liked and friendly boy. He deserved much better than the evil fate that befell him.
A judge said there was enough to charge the cop who killed him with murder and the prosecutor who failed to hold that cop accountable was thankfully voted out of office. It’s important to remember that Tamir is all of us. Tamir could have been you or one of your loved ones! Amandla! also thanks and sends blessings to Tajai, his other siblings and Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, who teaches us all to never forget the tragedy that occurred on November 22, 2014.
Samaria Rice has opened the Tamir Rice Foundation in her son’s honor and to make sure that his legacy lives on. According to the foundation’s website, “[t]he mission of the Tamir Rice Foundation is to invest in the growth and enrichment of children through the arts and create a world in which all children feel safe, nurtured and valued — especially in their darkest times. The Foundation’s core initiative, The Tamir Rice Afrocentric Cultural Center, will provide arts, cultural, educational, and civic programs for youth ages 10-19 that celebrate the history and culture of people of African descent in Cleveland, OH.
If Tamir were still alive today he would have been a high school aged Junior or Senior. Join Amandla! in honoring Tamir’s memory and legacy anyway you can.