Why Tamir Rice’s Mom Hasn’t Endorsed Anyone for President

By Kenrya Rankin Mar 15, 2016

While the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Jordan Davis and Dontre Hamilton have all publically announced their support for Hillary Clinton in her race to the White House, one “mother of the movement” has been quiet about her political leanings.

Samaria Rice, mother of slain 12-year-old Tamir Rice, broke her silence on the election yesterday (March 14) with an essay on Medium titled “Why I Have Not Endorsed Any Candidate.” She starts by making plain the flaws she sees in government at the state and local levels.

For over a year I have been fighting for justice for my son, Tamir, who was killed by Cleveland police officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback. 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. 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. …

After Tamir’s death, the county prosecutor, Timothy McGinty, an elected official, responsible for seeking justice for Tamir, instead blamed my 12-year-old boy for his own death. All of this happened under the administration of Ohio governor, John Kasich, a 2016 presidential nominee. Ohio’s state government has shown me repeatedly that the people elected to serve have no interest in justice. The loss of Tamir has made it clear to me that Cleveland is deeply invested in a system of injustice. …

Rice then goes on to explain what a presidential candidate would need to do to earn her backing:

While I’ve continued to push my state’s officials towards real changes, several presidential candidates have said my son’s name in their mouth, using his death as an example of what shouldn’t happen in America. Twelve-year-old children should never be murdered for playing in a park. But not a single politician: local, state or federal, has taken action to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Instead of plans for justice and accountability, I have been shown several plans for criminal justice reform, none that address my experience of the entire system being guilty. Those plans don’t address the many ways elected officials become exempt to accountability and the legal flaws that allow them to extend that exemption to cops who kill. These plans do not get rid of the trauma of knowing that my tax dollars help pay the salaries of the police officers that killed my son. …

My experience has let me know that the system is working just the way the people in power want it to. 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 know we need real action, and I refuse to endorse any candidate that offers less.

Read the full essay here.