12-year-old Tamir Rice was one of way too many young Black men who lost their lives at the hands of careless police officers last year, and now his mother Samaria Rice is yet again speaking out to share what she’s been going through since that fateful day last November.
Speaking to journalist Feminista Jones on behalf of Ebony Magazine, Ms. Rice painfully recounted the events leading up to the day that Cleveland Police claimed the life of her young son. She recalled how she’d moved to the community less than one year in hopes of raising her children in what she saw as a more diverse and safer area of the city.
[Samaria] moved her family to the community eight months before he was killed because she believed it was more diverse and safer, a better place to raise her family. Her eldest daughter, Tasheona Rice, now 19, was pregnant at that time with Talaya Rice, now 10 months. Samaria’s eldest son, Kavon Rice, now 16, and youngest daughter Tajai Rice, now 15, all shared a home with Tamir. They are a close-knit family and Samaria remarks that she has been raising her children alone as a single mother; none of their fathers have contributed much to their upbringing. This has not deterred her, however, and she has made the most of her family’s situation like so many mothers in her predicament do.
Samaria went on to speak about how Tamir was not a “street kid,” but described him instead as a mama’s boy who she ensured didn’t grow up too fast and had regular responsibilities like chores to do in their home. She recalled teaching him about using “coping mechanisms” rather than resorting to violence or fighting when facing confrontation.
She says on the day he died, he and his older sister left to go to the community center near their home. According to police reports, someone made a phone call alerting the local police department that there was a kid in the park waving a gun around. Despite the caller also mentioning that the person in question was “probably a juvenile” and that the gun was “probably fake,” police approached the scene abruptly fired a fatal shot 12-year-old Tamir before he even had time to explain or put his hands up to surrender.
Since his death, Samaria says counseling and people offering support have helped her get through losing her son.
“People give me hugs. They tell me they are praying for me. A couple of the churches have blessed me. I’m very grateful. I didn’t ask for this, but I’m grateful. It can be very overwhelming sometimes, but I’m here. I’m in the fight,” she expressed. There have been online fundraisers and drives to help the Rice family try to transition into the next phase of their life after it was reported that they became homeless earlier this year. Samaria opted to move out of the home that was painfully close to where her youngest child’s life was taken. She and her children were living in a homeless shelter for a few months, something that she didn’t exactly want the public knowing at the time. Now, she and her family live in a smaller, newly furnished home, and have received and outpouring of support from all over the country and world.
You can read the full interview with Samaria here.