Tamir Rice's Mother Explains Why She Isn't Endorsing Any Presidential Candidate
Over the past few weeks, mothers of slain Black men and children have come out in support of presidential candidates, but Tamir Rice's mother has been silent about which political candidate has her vote.
On Tuesday, (March 15) Samaria Rice penned an essay via Medium, explaining her refusal to stand by any of the presidential candidates. While traveling the nation for her Justice for Tamir Speak Out Tour, Rice says she's been asked the overbearing political question, which has proven to be a painful reminder for Rice that politicians and lawmakers have failed to do much to combat improper police practices towards people of color.
"For over a year, I’ve waited to see if any candidate or official, including my state’s governor, would release a plan of action that addressed the failures and inhumane decisions responsible for my son’s death," she said. "While I’ve waited, I’ve been speaking out for true action, with changes that would help prevent another tragedy like Tamir’s murder, changes that truly hold these police accountable and give people power in the communities we live in."
Rice also mentions how former Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty blamed the 12-year-old for his own death, and Ohio Mayor (and presidential candidate) John Kasich's vague statements on her son have done more harm than good.
In November 2014, Rice was fatally shot and killed by Cleveland police officers who mistook his toy gun for an actual pistol. McGinty refused to bring charges against Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback last year, despite claims of falsified reports and department violations committed by the officers.
In closing, Rice says more has to be done with criminal justice other than just accountability. "My experience has let me know that the system is working just the way the people in power want it to," she explained. "That is why I refuse to accept plans or support politicians that offer what they propose as solutions, not informed by us, the community. I cannot settle for partial solutions and lip service. I know we need real action, and I refuse to endorse any candidate that offers less."
Other mothers of the movement such as Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin), Gwen Carr (Eric Garner) and Lucia McBath (Jordan Davis) have given their support to Hillary Clinton. Eric Garner's daughter, Erica Garner, has backed Bernie Sanders.
While Rice's killers haven't been brought to justice, the public has found effective ways to change the makeup of district attorneys at the voting polls. On Tuesday, McGinty conceded his re-election bid to Democratic challenger Mike O’Malley. Chicago district attorney Anita Alvarez was also defeated in the primaries by challenger Kim Foxx. Activists even birthed the hashtag, #ByeAnita for her role in keeping McDonald's death away from the public.
As the Democratic candidates continue to push for Black votes, Rice's essay proves it will take more than bold statements to capture it.
Read her essay in its entirety, here.