Tag: Tamir Rice

Samaria Rice to Open Tamir Rice Cultural Center in Cleveland in 2019

Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice (photo via ohio.com)

by Angela Helm via theroot.com

Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old who was gunned down on a playground by an erratic “officer of the law” in 2014, is mending her heartbreak by opening a cultural center in the name of her son.

The Tamir Rice Afrocentric Cultural Center will honor Tamir’s legacy by operating as a place of refuge for black children in Cleveland, a space where they can participate in visual art, drama, music, as well as teaching them civics as well. “Nobody is talking about Tamir anymore in Cleveland,” said Samaria. “And that’s sad.”

Through the Tamir Rice Foundation, Samaria has already purchased a building for the center, and, in addition to serving the children’s artistic ambitions (Tamir, she said, loved to draw cartoons and make pottery), the young people who come through its doors will be mentored on how to “dissect and participate in political systems,” something the 41-year-old mother of three says she had to learn, after her son was killed as he played.

Rice has already faced opposition to opening the center, a baffling notion, given what she has been through, but according to a recent profile by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, someone recently put superglue in all of the locks on the 3,500-square-foot former newspaper building.

“I don’t pay no attention to them,” she said. “They can’t beat me for the simple fact that their child wasn’t killed by the state. I’m going to do it through the grace of God and I’m going to do it because the city of Cleveland gave me no choice but to do it as far as building my son’s legacy and keeping his legacy alive.”

Next month, Rice is throwing a “Sweet Sixteen” party for the birthday Tamir will never see. She seeks to raise $21,000 to help renovate the space, including new windows, and a stage for performances. She purchased the building in March for $162,680, using part of the $6 million settlement of the wrongful death suit she’d filed against the city and the two officers involved (none of whom faced a day in jail). The Plain Dealer reports that after lawyer’s fees and costs and payments to other relatives, Tamir’s estate was left with about $1.8 million.

Samaria Rice hopes to complete work and open the center in 2019.

Tickets for June 14 fundraiser at the Cleveland Museum of Art are $55  and contributions to the renovation are also being collected online.

To read full article, go to: https://www.theroot.com/samaria-rice-to-open-tamir-rice-cultural-center-for-cle-1826177821

Colin Kaepernick Receives 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award

Colin Kaepernick (GETTY IMAGES)

by Michael Rosenberg via si.com

“If I was walking down the highway with a quarter in my pocket and a briefcase full of truth, I’d be so happy.” – Muhammad Ali, Sports Illustrated, Feb. 19, 1968

Colin Kaepernick made his truth known when he first decided not to stand for the national anthem. He had a lot of football left to play and a lot more money to make when he made his decision. It was late August, 2016. People who were anonymous in life had become famous in death. Philando Castile. Eric Garner​. Alton Sterling. Freddie Gray. They were tragic symbols of a society that had taken a terribly wrong turn. As the anthem played ahead of the 49ers’ preseason game against the Texans, Kaepernick, San Francisco’s 28-year-old quarterback at the time, quietly took a seat on the bench.

It took two weeks for anyone from the media to ask him about it. Kaepernick explained that he was making a statement about inequality and social justice, about the ways this country “oppresses black people and people of color.”

“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” he added. “There are bodies in the street,” he said then, “and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

In the last 16 months, Kaepernick’s truth has been twisted, distorted and used for political gain. It has cost him at least a year of his NFL career and the income that should have come with it. But still, it is his truth. He has not wavered from it. He does not regret speaking it. He has caused millions of people to examine it. And, quietly, he has donated nearly a million dollars to support it.

For all those reasons—for his steadfastness in the fight for social justice, for his adherence to his beliefs no matter the cost—Colin Kaepernick is the recipient of the 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. Each year SI and the Ali family honor a figure who embodies the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy and has used sports as a platform for changing the world. “I am proud to be able to present this to Colin for his passionate defense of social justice and civil rights for all people,” says Lonnie Ali, Muhammad’s widow. “Like Muhammad, Colin is a man who stands on his convictions with confidence and courage, undaunted by the personal sacrifices he has had to make to have his message heard. And he has used his celebrity and philanthropy to the benefit of some of our most vulnerable community members.”

Previous Legacy winners—including Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Jack Nicklaus and Magic Johnson—were deserving. But no winner has been more fitting than Kaepernick. Ali lost more than three years of his career for his refusal to serve in the military in opposition to the Vietnam War. Kaepernick has lost one year, so far, for his pursuit of social justice.

When Kaepernick first protested during the national anthem, he could not have envisioned the size and duration of the ensuing firestorm. But he knew there would be fallout. So much has changed in America since the summer of 2016, and so many words have been used to describe Kaepernick. But his words from his first explanation remain his truth:

“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

Kaepernick kept his job for a season before being blackballed by the NFL—and yes, he has been blackballed. This should be obvious by now. Scott Tolzien, Cody Kessler, Tom Savage and Matt Cassel have thrown passes in the league this year, yet nobody has tried to sign Kaepernick, who is fifth in NFL history in touchdown-to-interception ratio. Kaepernick has been called a distraction, which is laughable— his coach last year, Chip Kelly, says there was “zero distraction,” and his 49ers teammates said the same. Most NFL players would rather be “distracted” by Kaepernick than try to tackle the guy who just intercepted Brock Osweiler.

Kaepernick has paid a price beyond missing games and losing paychecks. He has been battered by critics who don’t want to understand him. Some say Kaepernick hates America; he says he is trying to make it better. Others say he hates the military, but on Sept. 1, 2016, as the then-San Diego Chargers played a tribute to the military on the stadium videoboard, Kaepernick applauded.

Nobody claims Kaepernick is perfect. Reasonable, woke people can be upset that he did not vote in the 2016 election. But the Ali Legacy Award does not honor perfection, and the criticisms of Kaepernick are misguided in one fundamental way: They make this story a referendum on Kaepernick. It was never supposed to be about him. It is about Tamir Rice and the world’s highest incarceration rate and a country that devalues education and slides too easily into violence.

When Ali was drafted into the military in 1967 and refused to report, much of the country disapproved. Ali explained his refusal by saying: “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam after so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”

Time ultimately shined a softer light on Ali. For the last 40 years of his life, Ali was arguably the most popular athlete in American history. But in the late 1960s, he was deeply unpopular and his future was uncertain.

Ali was 25 when he was banned from boxing and 28 when he returned to the sport. Boxing historians sometimes wonder what he would have done in those prime years. But Ali did not look at it that way. Instead of focusing on the piece of his career that he lost, he talked about what he had gained: a sense of self, and of purpose, greater than he could ever find in the ring. He risked prison time. He did not know if he would ever be allowed to fight again. But he knew he was clinging to his truth. As Ali later told SI’s George Plimpton: “Every man wonders what he is going to do when he is put on the chopping block, when he’s going to be tested.”

Someday, America may well be a better place because of Colin Kaepernick. This is hard to see now— history is not meant to be analyzed in real time. But we are having conversations we need to have, and this should eventually lead to changes we need to make. Police officers, politicians and citizens can work together to create a safer, fairer, more civil society. Kaepernick did not want to sacrifice his football career for this. But he did it anyway. It is a rare person who gives up what he loves in exchange for what he believes.

To read full article, go to: https://www.si.com/sportsperson/2017/11/30/colin-kaepernick-muhammad-ali-legacy-award

Tamir Rice’s Family Settles With Cleveland for $6 Million in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Tamir Rices family and the city of Cleveland, reached a $6 million settlement on Monday in a wrongful death lawsuit, ABC News reports.

Subodh Chandra, the family attorney, described the settlement as historic, according to ABC News.  But he added, via the Associated Press“The resolution is nothing to celebrate because a 12-year-old child needlessly lost his life.”

Tamir was playing with a pellet gun at a Cleveland recreational center when Police Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback shot him in November 2014. A video captured the moment when their patrol car, responding to a 911 call, pulls up to Tamir and Loehmann shoots the boy within seconds. They reportedly were not aware that a witness said the gun was probably a fake and Tamir looked like a juvenile.

The fatal shooting contributed to the national outcry against excessive police force in regards to Black males and protests in Cleveland. In that tense atmosphere, a grand jury declined to charge the officers. Meanwhile, a federal civil rights investigation is pending.

Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, said the two officers failed to administer first aid and caused intentional distress by the way they mistreated her and her daughter following the shooting, ABC News reports. Her wrongful death suit targeted the officers, dispatchers, and Cleveland.

The network reports that the U.S. District Court filed an ordered saying that Cleveland will pay Tamir’s estate $3 million this year and the remainder in 2017. Cleveland did not admit to wrongdoing.

FBI To Finally Collect & Publish Info About Police-Involved Fatal Shootings

(Photo via Getty Images)
(Photo via Getty Images)

Responding to long running complaints about the lack of national data available for how often police resort to deadly force, the FBI on Monday announced plans to track and publish the statistics.

The Washington Post reports that FBI Director James B. Comey described the information as vital in the ongoing debate over policing in the United States.

Via the Washington Post:

Continuing “without comprehensive data only stalls meaningful conversation and fuels empty debates, both within law enforcement and in the communities we serve,” [Comey] wrote in a message accompanying the release of the FBI’s crime statistics for 2014.

This is not the first time Comey has criticized the lack of data available regarding how often police officers shoot and kill people. While the federal government does track some fatal police shootings, federal officials have acknowledged that this data is incomplete. Not all agencies in the United States participate in the voluntary reporting system, which had left a considerable gap in the ongoing public discussion.

Earlier this year, Comey joined former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., who called the lack of information about the shootings “unacceptable,” notes the report.

The criticism came after protests against police violence following several high-profile law enforcement-involved deaths of unarmed Blacks, including Eric Garner in New York City, Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

article by Lynette Holloway via newsone.com

Gamers Unite To Raise Money For Eric Garner’s Family With #Spawn4Good Event on January 17 & 18

Protest Continue Across Country In Wake Of NY Grand Jury Verdict In Chokehold Death Case

Ever since the deaths of Eric GarnerMichael Brown and Tamir Rice—all unarmed Black men killed by the hands of police— have swept social consciousness, there has been a sense of growing helplessness and frustration in the Black community. This frustration was ignited with the refusals of grand juries to indict police officers that led to a wave of protests around the globe. Social media and technology played a large role as users adopted the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter and #icantbreathe as their rallying cry. Even the hacker group Anonymous took up banners in search of justice. Now gamers are making their voices heard with #Spawn4Good, gaming charity event against police brutality.

The #Spawn4Good event— taking place January 17 and 18— invites gamers all over the world to stream on Twitch in an unprecedented act of solidarity to reflect and take a stand against the unequal treatment of people of color at the hands of law enforcement.  The initiative will also raise funds through CrowdRise with the donations being distributed to the Eric Garner Fund, and The New York Lawyers Guild.

#Spawn4Good is the brain child of Kahlief Adams, Owner and Editor in Chief of SpawnPointBlog.  Along with the podcast Spawn On Me, the site spotlights people of color in the gaming industry. When asked why he chose gaming as a platform, Adams said, “Gaming is and has been a part of our lives since we were very little, and it only feels natural to help in this way. We’ve seen the awful reshaping of what the term “gamer” has been over the past year with the #GamerGate & #NotYourShield debacles and felt like this was a way push back against the consistent apathetic feelings we see in our own gaming communities when it comes to issues of racial disparity and injustice.”

“There was a bigger uproar over the last Destiny update than there was over any of the issues facing gamers of color and their communities and we feel like that needs addressing.”

Adams joins a growing movement of people accepting the evolving notion of gaming as more than just a male teenager’s pastime. With 59% of Americans playing video games and the average age being 31 according to the Entertainment Software Association, the look of the gamer is changing and driving change not only in pocketbooks but in social issues. Engaged gamers have been motivated to donate more than 101 billion grains of rice through the World Food Programs online game FreeRice, the annual Awesome Games Done Quick Event raised over $1,000,000 for the Prevent Cancer Foundation in a live streaming event and there are organizations like the annual Games for Change Festival that showcase games developed for education, activism and that effect social or environmental change.

For those interested in taking part you can donate via CrowdRise, watch the Twitch stream on (SOM) (SOM2) or can spread the word at @spawnonme on Twitter and by using the tag #Spawn4Good.

article by Ian Freeman via theurbandaily.com

Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Andrew Hawkins Offers Thoughtful Rebuke After Police Union Slams T-Shirt Protest

Cleveland Browns player Andrew Hawkins on Dec. 14, 2014
Cleveland Browns player Andrew Hawkins on Dec. 14, 2014

After police unions slammed his decision to wear a T-shirt protesting the police shootings of two black people in Ohio, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins gathered the media to explain himself more fully.

“I understood there was going to be backlash, and that scared me, honestly. But deep down I felt like it was the right thing to do,” Hawkins said. “If I was to run away from what I felt in my soul was the right thing to do, that would make me a coward, and I can’t live with that.”

Below is his statement in full:

“I was taught that justice is a right that every American should have. Also justice should be the goal of every American. I think that’s what makes this country. To me, justice means the innocent should be found innocent. It means that those who do wrong should get their due punishment. Ultimately, it means fair treatment. So a call for justice shouldn’t offend or disrespect anybody. A call for justice shouldn’t warrant an apology.“To clarify, I utterly respect and appreciate every police officer that protects and serves all of us with honesty, integrity and the right way. And I don’t think those kind of officers should be offended by what I did. My mom taught me my entire life to respect law enforcement. I have family, close friends that are incredible police officers and I tell them all the time how they are much braver than me for it. So my wearing a T-shirt wasn’t a stance against every police officer or every police department. My wearing the T-shirt was a stance against wrong individuals doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons to innocent people.

“Unfortunately, my mom also taught me just as there are good police officers, there are some not-so-good police officers that would assume the worst of me without knowing anything about me for reasons I can’t control. She taught me to be careful and be on the lookout for those not-so-good police officers because they could potentially do me harm and most times without consequences. Those are the police officers that should be offended.

“Being a police officer takes bravery. And I understand that they’re put in difficult positions and have to make those snap decisions. As a football player, I know a little bit about snap decisions, obviously on an extremely lesser and non-comparative scale, because when a police officer makes a snap decision, it’s literally a matter of life and death. That’s hard a situation to be in. But if the wrong decision is made, based on pre-conceived notions or the wrong motives, I believe there should be consequence. Because without consequence, naturally the magnitude of the snap decisions is lessened, whether consciously or unconsciously.

“I’m not an activist, in any way, shape or form. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred I keep my opinions to myself on most matters. I worked extremely hard to build and keep my reputation especially here in Ohio, and by most accounts I’ve done a solid job of decently building a good name. Before I made the decision to wear the T-shirt, I understood I was putting that reputation in jeopardy to some of those people who wouldn’t necessarily agree with my perspective. I understood there was going to be backlash, and that scared me, honestly. But deep down I felt like it was the right thing to do. If I was to run away from what I felt in my soul was the right thing to do, that would make me a coward, and I can’t live with that. God wouldn’t be able to put me where I am today, as far as I’ve come in life, if I was a coward.

“As you well know, and it’s well documented, I have a 2-year-old little boy. The same 2-year-old little boy that everyone said was cute when I jokingly threw him out of the house earlier this year. That little boy is my entire world. And the No. 1 reason for me wearing the T-shirt was the thought of what happened to Tamir Rice happening to my little Austin scares the living hell out of me. And my heart was broken for the parents of Tamir and John Crawford knowing they had to live that nightmare of a reality.

“So, like I said, I made the conscious decision to wear the T-shirt. I felt like my heart was in the right place. I’m at peace with it and those that disagree with me, this is America, everyone has the right to their first amendment rights. Those who support me, I appreciate your support. But at the same time, support the causes and the people and the injustices that you feel strongly about. Stand up for them. Speak up for them. No matter what it is because that’s what America’s about and that’s what this country was founded on.”

article by Dylan Scott via talkingpointsmemo.com

Tens Of Thousands March On NYPD Headquarters To Protest Police Killings

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Tens of thousands of protesters streamed out of New York City’s Washington Square Park on Saturday to protest the killings of unarmed black people by police officers, as part of the “Millions March NYC.

The crowd began to wind its way through Manhattan. A large labor union contingent was present, including members of the Communications Workers of America wearing red shirts and AFL-CIO supporters waving blue signs.

In contrast to other marches over the past weeks, this large, orderly demonstration took place during the day. A number of families with children took part, and demonstrators followed a pre-planned route. The march made its way uptown to Herald Square, then looped back downtown, with thunderous chants of “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” and “Justice! Now!” echoing down Broadway. The demonstration culminated at One Police Plaza, the New York City Police Department’s Lower Manhattan headquarters.

Organizers estimated that 30,000 demonstrators participated in the march. The NYPD told The Huffington Post that, as of the official end of the march, no arrests had been made.

Protesters held up 8 panels depicting Eric Garner’s eyes, created by an artist known as JR. “The eyes were chosen as the most important part of the face,” said Tony Herbas of Bushwick, an assistant to the artist.

garner eyes

Ron Davis, whose son Jordan was shot dead by a man in Florida after an argument over loud music, was at the head of the march.

“We have to make everybody accountable,” Davis told HuffPost. “You can’t continue to see videos of chokeholds, videos of kids getting shot in the back, and say it’s all right. We have to make sure we have an independent investigator investigate these crimes that police carry out.”

Michael Dunn, the man who killed Jordan, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole in October. Davis said Saturday that Dunn’s conviction proves it’s possible that justice can be served in racially charged cases.

“We ended up getting a historic movement in Jacksonville,” Davis said. “We had an almost all-white jury, with seven white men, convict a white man for shooting down an unarmed boy of color.”

black lives matter

Also at the front of the march were New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and New York state Assemblyman-elect Charles Barron.

Matthew Brown, a 19-year-old who is African-American and Hispanic, marched down Broadway with his mother, aunt and other family members.

“I’m trying to support a movement that really needs young people like myself,” said Brown. “I’m here to speak for Mike Brown.”

The teenager said part of his motivation for making the trek from West Orange, New Jersey, with his family was his own personal experience. He’s encountered racist verbal abuse from police in Jersey City, he said, who have called him “spic” and monkey.”

Citing the cases of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, Brown said part of the reason he wanted to speak out was because of the way police represent encounters with African-Americans. “I just see so many lies after lies.”

He also attended the People’s Climate March in September. But this march felt more intense to him. “This is one that’s really affecting people on a deep, emotional level,” Brown said.

Continue reading “Tens Of Thousands March On NYPD Headquarters To Protest Police Killings”

Cleveland Police Cited for Abuse by U.S. Department of Justice

A memorial for Tamir Rice, shot by the Cleveland police. (TY WRIGHT FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)

CLEVELAND — The Justice Department announced on Thursday that a nearly two-year civil rights investigation into the Cleveland Police Department had found a pattern of “unreasonable and unnecessary use of force” that resulted in dangerous and reckless behavior by officers, pointing out the kinds of problems that have angered black residents here and touched off demonstrations across the country in recent weeks.

The abuses cited in the report included excessive use of force by the police involving not just firearms, but also less-than-lethal weapons like Tasers, chemical spray and fists, which were sometimes used for retaliation. The report also said the police had used excessive force against mentally ill people and employed tactics that escalated potentially nonviolent encounters into dangerous confrontations.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., in a sign of the Obama administration’s growing concern about contentious police shootings and other use of force — and with demonstrations in New York; Ferguson, Mo.; and elsewhere — traveled to Cleveland on Thursday to announce the findings himself. The city has been roiled by the fatal shooting last month of a 12-year-old African-American boy by a rookie police officer.

“Accountability and legitimacy are essential for communities to trust their police departments,” Mr. Holder said, “and for there to be genuine collaboration between police and the citizens they serve.”

Continue reading “Cleveland Police Cited for Abuse by U.S. Department of Justice”

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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