The mother of Tamir Rice is building a cultural center in memory of her son, who was shot and killed at the age of 12 by Cleveland Police while playing with a toy gun.
The Tamir Rice Afrocentric Cultural Center will act as an after-school center for children and become a place where “all children feel safe, nurtured and valued — especially in their darkest times,” the center’s fundraising page says. She has been able to fundraise almost $10,000 towards the cause.
“Nobody is talking about Tamir anymore in Cleveland,” Samaria Rice told Cleveland.com. “And that’s sad. Not council people. Not church pastors.”
Tamir was shot in November 2014 while playing with a toy gun in a park by a rookie police officer. The 911 call indicated that a boy was playing with a “probably fake” gun, though that information was not relayed to responding officers. The incident, which was caught on tape, revealed that within two seconds of police arriving, officers fired at Tamir. He later died in hospital.
In December 2015, an Ohio grand jury declined to indict the two officers who shot and killed him.
The City of Cleveland settled a $6 million wrongful death suit brought by Tamir’s family. It was the largest settlement the city had ever paid related to a police shooting.
Next month, Samaria is throwing a “Sweet Sixteen” party for her son that will also serve as a fundraiser for the cultural center, Cleveland.com reports. She hopes to raise $21,000 to renovate the building purchased this past March by the Tamir Rice Foundation.
Samaria is hoping to break ground on the center in 2019 and sees it as a way to invest in Cleveland’s children.