Tamir Rice's Mom Blasts Black Community Leaders For 'Hustling Black Death'
The mother questioned the lack of a "people's government" in the United States.
May 25, 2021 at 9:08 pm
Samaria Rice, the mother of slain 12-year-old Tamir Rice, recently rebuked Black leaders who she said took advantage of her son’s killing and put her family in the national spotlight.
In the weeks following the 2014 death of Tamir, who was killed by police in Ohio after someone reported that he was playing with a gun in a park, organizers and lawyers reached out to Samaria offering guidance and advice. The mother said she felt like a "deer in headlights" and revealed that she often felt uninformed, questioning if those that said they were rallying for her really valued her input.
During the interview with The Cut, Samaria added that she hopes Black leaders can use their spotlight in the community to engage corporate entities in enacting lasting change.
“They should not be standing on the front line like this was they child,” she said. “You supposed to be uplifting the family, the community, teaching us how to love on each other, not bickering and fighting about who gon’ get the next case or who gon’ be on TV next. It’s a mess.”
“I think they can make things right with the community and try to show the community that they are working and not just talking … you got these corporate people listening to you like you doing the work, and you not doing the work if you not in these streets,” she added.
After Tamika Mallory took the stage during rapper Lil Baby’s performance at the Grammy Awards in March, Samaria blasted the activist and civil rights attorneys Lee Merrick and Ben Crump on social media.
“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],” she wrote on Facebook.
As Blavity previously reported, Samaria later joined Lisa Simpson, the mother of slain teenager Richard Risher, in issuing a formal statement against other notable Black figures in the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Families of those who are killed by the police — and whose loved ones’ deaths spark mass movements — continue to navigate political misrepresentation, battle zones of police repression, homelessness, and poverty, while Black ‘leadership’ that has not been selected by the masses flourishes through celebrity status. These families must be provided the resources to sustain themselves, their families, and their work dedicated to building community infrastructure,” the statement read.
“Stop celebrity activism; stop corporate investments that support lobbyists for this norm; put an end to the political-economy’s parasitism on Black death and poverty,” the statement continued.
The 44-year-old mother is currently seeking to have Tamir’s case reopened, saying that a conviction would bring her family a degree of healing.
“My kids and I can have some bit of peace, peace of mind,” Samaria said. “My son’s human rights were violated. Just like George Floyd as well as lots of other families. And that’s what America needs to make right, the human-rights aspect of this. The whole thing needs to be dismantled. Or they could split the country up and put us on half.”
Additionally, the frustrated mom suggested that Black people look within the community for solutions to police killings and the discriminatory criminal justice system.
“Why don’t we have a people’s government or a Black government?” she asked.
The social justice activist expressed that she wants to see the families of victims of police brutality get the resources to heal properly and the support to speak on their own behalves.
"All of the families should be getting therapy, and all of them should be getting the tools to speak for themselves, not have people speak for them," she said.
As The Cut reports, Samaria is studying for her GED and training for her real-estate license while running organizations created to honor her son’s legacy and support other families.
“I’m a founder of the Tamir Rice Foundation and the Tamir Rice Afrocentric Cultural Center, where we have free after-school programming,” she said. “I bought a whole building, and I’m just trying to get it renovated to put the children and the staff in there.”
In 2016, the mother was granted nearly $6 million in a civil suit filed against the City of Cleveland, Ohio. She used a portion of the award as an investment to start the foundation, per The Guardian.