Tamir rice’s mom building center to nurture youth, honor son – washington times electricity receiver

“I don’t pay no attention to them,” Rice said bluntly. “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 milestone her son can’t celebrate. She’s invited the public to help her honor Tamir with musical and spoken word performances, and to help raise $21,000 to renovate the more than 3,500-square-foot building purchased in March by the Tamir Rice Foundation.

Some artists have kept what happened to him alive, like Terrence Spivey, a theatrical director, who in 2016 helped create a play that wove together searing monologues that grappled with the community’s response to Tamir’s death. Spivey will be the artistic director for the center’s drama program, Rice said.

Rice created the foundation that bears her son’s name in 2016. Later that year, a judge approved a $6 million settlement of the wrongful death lawsuit she’d filed against the city and the two officers involved. It was the largest settlement the city had ever paid related to a police shooting.

Rice taught herself, with the help of counselors and programs, to provide the structure for her children she never had. Rice sought out and enrolled them in arts programs and sports, and made sure their needs at school were addressed. Tamir, she said, loved to create, drawing cartoons and making pottery.

“I’m a nurturer and I still had some nurturing to do for Tamir but I was robbed of that…I want to see some positivity. I don’t really see a whole lot of positivity coming out of the inner city when it comes to the youth that is suffering…I want the center to give them a sense of hope.”

Rice’s plan crystalized one day this year as she drove down St. Clair Avenue. She spotted a narrow building between the Empress Taytu Ethiopian restaurant and an indoor flea market. The building had a for rent sign and Rice decided see if the owner would sell.

Katherine and Edward Turk bought the building in 2010, mainly to preserve its historical contents, which now are in a small museum down the street. Most recently, a band practiced and performed in the space where Rice said she’ll build a small theater.

While Rice aims to create a hub for artistic expression, and a safe space for all children, she also wants to learn to “dissect the system” for change.” To know what it takes to be a councilperson, a mayor, a representative. And also to learn the chain of command and who has the power to make change in a city.

“Those children that’s coming out of the 12th grade, they’re not talking about it, let’s be honest, like they are in the white schools,” she said. “When it does happen, it isn’t enough. You’ve got some kids out there that want to see some change, they just don’t know how to go about it.”

“I gotta do something, you know,” she said. They ain’t gonna hear me out…I ain’t got time for that. That’s why I’ve got to channel my stuff to the youth because they’re going to be our future. I may not see it in my lifetime, but the center will make sure it gets done, that’s for sure.”