Update (March 23, 2021): Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, and Until Freedom, a social justice group organizing in Louisville, Kentucky, have come out to defend Tamika Mallory, a social justice activist who has been on the receiving end of harsh criticism from Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice.
In a post to an Instagram account run by Palmer, she wrote, “The family of Breonna Taylor fully supports and stands with Tamika D Mallory and Until Freedom, just as they have with us.”
Until Freedom, the social justice group led by Mallory and Mysonne E. Linen shared the post to their page with the caption:
“Tamika Palmer, we will never leave your side. We are in this Until justice for Breonna and beyond. Tamika Mallory gives her all to every family she and we have ever worked with. It’s who she is and has always been. Back to work. Justice for #BreonnaTaylor,” Until Freedom wrote on their Facebook page on Monday.
Both posts were in response to a note from Mallory, who said that white supremacy causes “division” among Black people.
“Our communities are traumatized by its violence physically and emotionally. Tamika, I appreciate the LOVE we share. As I promised the first day we met, I will never leave your side! If you want to know my heart and what I’ve done, talk to people I actually know, have worked with and on behalf of,” Mallory wrote on Facebook.
The posts come days after Samaria leveled harsh criticism against Mallory, the Black Lives Matter Global Network, Shaun King and multiple lawyers who have been involved in police violence cases. She argued that Mallory and others were using her child’s name to fundraise while giving none of it back to her or a foundation she created in his name.
The posts resonated with many online who have long had questions about the way groups like the Black Lives Matter Global Network have been able to raise millions and where it has all gone. As Blavity previously reported in February, the organization raised $90 million in 2020, sparking concerns from Samaria, the father of Mike Brown and others about where the money was going and why they had received none of it.
In a lengthy open letter, Samaria wrote that it was painful to see her son’s name used so widely and wanted the groups to stop using his likeness for fundraising efforts until they did a better job of disbursing the funds they brought in.
“Tamika D. Mallory, Shaun King, Benjamin Crump, Lee Merritt, Patrisse Cullors, Melina Abdullah and the Black Lives Matter Global Network need to step down, stand back, and stop monopolizing and capitalizing off our fight for justice and human rights. We never hired them to be the representatives in the fight for justice for our dead loved ones murdered by the police,” Samaria wrote along with Lisa Simpson, mother of Richard Risher.
“We don't want or need y'all parading in the streets accumulating donations, platforms, movie deals, etc. off the death of our loved ones, while the families and communities are left clueless and broken. Don’t say our loved ones’ names period! That’s our truth!” they added.
Original (March 22, 2021): Activist Tamika Mallory, who faced criticism last week when the mother of Tamir Rice said she was "chasing clout," addressed the accusation on the latest episode of her podcast on Thursday. Mallory aimed to respond with compassion, saying she understands the pain of Samaria Rice, who lost her 12-year-old son when he was shot by two officers in 2014.
“Ms. Rice is right. I support 100% how she feels and what she has stated in terms of her pain related to her son,” the activist said on her podcast For The Record: Chasing Freedom.
Mallory added that the country has failed the grieving mother, who still hasn't received justice for the death of her son.
“I feel like we all have failed her,” she said. "As a nation, I think that whenever a child, or any person, but particularly a child is killed, this nation should have erupted. And the fact that she did not get the proper justice for her son would make anyone angry. And so I totally understand and respect the trauma and pain that she feels as a mother.”
As Blavity previously reported, Rice bashed Mallory and several other activists, as well as lawyers, accusing them of using the deaths of Black people to get famous. The mother specifically pointed to Mallory and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, saying they are profiting from families still struggling with the loss of loved ones.
Rice made the accusation in a series of Facebook posts on March 14, the same day on which Mallory appeared on stage with rapper Lil Baby during the 2021 Grammy Awards.
"I'm tired of you black lives matters (Tamika Mallory and crew) b***hes that's riding theses [sic] family back and yall ambulance chasing Attorneys ( Ben Crump) (Lee Merrick) too yall have f**k up our fight and yall can kiss my a*s too….Make it make sense….You can't working with devil is easy too do [sic]," Rice wrote.
Responding to the comment, Mallory said she doesn't engage in divisiveness, which has been used to destroy movements.
“I will never ever allow my organization, my team, Until Freedom, or myself to be used as a tool in the master’s box. I will never allow that,” the activist said. "If that's what you're looking for, you might as well turn away because it's not going to happen."
The podcaster added that she has been careful about speaking out on individual cases without speaking with the families, which is the case in regards to the Rice family.
"I would never be so disrespectful as to speak about her child or to have a campaign that addresses her child and uses her child's name to uplift any cause," Mallory said. "Mrs. Rice has said that she wants me to not speak of her child. While I may not have been doing it in the past, I will be very, very careful going forward to ensure that I respect her wishes."
"Because I understand that pain and trauma working with families for so many years, I would like to tell Mrs. Rice today that I'm available to be supportive," Mallory said. "I'm here for phone calls, I'm here to have any types of conversations with any type of families that would like to reach out and talk about the death of their child or some tragic situation that happened to them."
Rice sat down for an interview with Cleveland.com after bashing the activists, saying Mallory and the other leaders are “benefitting off the blood” of families who have lost loved ones.
“Who hired them to represent these families?” Rice told the publication. “She doesn’t speak for us. If you were going to do anything you should have had the mothers on stage so they could speak for themselves.”
The frustrated mother also spoke about Mallory's resume, which shows she first gained prominence as one of the lead organizers for the 2017 Women’s March and earned recognition on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the year.
“Tamika Mallory was representing women. So how did you come over in our fight for police brutality?” Rice said. “I’ve never met Tamika Mallory. But I don’t like the way she’s moving. You’ve seen her over the years and now [her status] is elevated. They need to go get a life and stand back and get up out our fight.”