The family of Tamir Rice has decided against a public vigil on what would have been his 14th birthday.
The Cleveland native died at the hands of a police officer two years ago after his toy gun was mistaken for a real weapon. Since then, his family has fought the courts when it comes to an official investigation into the 12-year-old’s death by the Department of Justice, WKYC reports. Unlike last year’s public service celebrating Rice’s young life, the family decided to mourn in private.
“I, Samaria Rice, want the people to remember Tamir’s birthday is Saturday and he will be turning 14 years old. I’m not going to have an event this year. This has been an emotional journey for my family and me,” his mother explained in a statement via Facebook. “I’m still seeking justice from the Department of Justice through a federal indictment of the two officers for the murder of my son. I see the unity in the City for a basketball win that was a long time coming. I wish my son was here to see it. It’s a shame we can’t show unity for racial problems in the City of Cleveland and in America”.
In addition to creating petitions and launching protests, the family raised money for a month-long billboard campaign for Tamir.
“His birthday is always going to be tough for me because Tamir would have gotten older,” Rice continued. “I don’t even know what he would look like as a teenager, as a young man and as a grown man, so it is very hard for me, it is. I will always have the memory of him as a little boy that we see.”
Plans to launch a billboard during the Republican National Convention were canceled, but the formation of the Tamir Rice Foundation has begun. Rice plans to have the organization up and running by November, which is also the two-year anniversary of his death.