Tamir Rice's mom unveils plans to keep her son's memory alive

Samaria Rice purchases building to house Tamir Rice Center. (Source: WOIO)
Samaria Rice purchases building to house Tamir Rice Center. (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Tamir Rice would have turned 16 years old in June.

The 12-year-old was gunned down by Cleveland police after they received reports of an armed person outside Cuddell Recreation Center in November 2014.

It turned out to be a toy gun.

Family remembers Tamir Rice, 12

The two officers involved were not criminally charged in the shooting.

Tamir's mother, Samaria Rice is pushing to keep his legacy alive and she's doing it with a new Afrocentric center in his name as part of the Tamir Rice Foundation.

"I actually purchased this commercial building because I wanted to turn this center into a center for children to empower the youth for change, said Samaria Rice.

Rice has a dream: to make the old Slavic News building on St. Clair a go-to-spot for kids after school.

On two stories she envisions music, art, digital training, tutoring and more.

She was excited as she walked down a second story hall into a large room.

"This will be an office for my art teacher and this is my office.  Yessss!"

Rice says she wants to look forward, but there is no denying the past that brought her to this point, Tamir's death.

She believes she's turned the corner.

"I'm happy, I'm excited. I mean it's really tough for me, you know, but I'm getting through it. It was tough. I should be planning a prom or something like that but I have to plan a dead baby's birthday. Trust me, it's no fun."

She hopes to partner with Cleveland Schools and nearby St. Martin de Porres Schools to provide programming during after school hours.

She aims for an opening in 2019.

Another goal is for the gazebo at Cudell Recreation Center, now torn down and in storage in Chicago to come home to a location other then Cudell.

"We're gonna revisit folks again in the City of Cleveland and see if we want to bring the gazebo back to have a permanent home and it could be safe and respected. It was very important to keep, you know Tamir's name out there and keep, you know that's going on to black and brown people in this community, absolutely."

A sweet sixteen birthday celebration/fundraiser will be held at the Cleveland Museum of Art on June 14.

Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

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