Cleveland schools present Tamir Rice’s mother with his honorary high school diploma

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 10:15 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - 75 high school graduates got their diplomas in Cleveland Friday night, but there was one member of the class missing, Tamir Rice.

Samaria Rice would give anything to see her son on this stage with the rest of the class of 2021.

“It would’ve meant what he’s gonna do next in life, right, and he could’ve been anything, and I just don’t know,” Rice said.

On Friday, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District presented his honorary diploma to Tamir’s mother.

“It’s very emotional, for one I only have the image of a 12-year-old child, which is my son, and I don’t know what he would’ve looked like as a young adult, a teenager or anything like that, so it’s very emotional but happy that I could share the moment with the kids like I said I got three high school graduates, two of my kids were in school when Tamir was murdered so its emotional, happy, and sad at the same time,” Rice said.

Tamir was shot by Cleveland police in 2014. It happened at Cudell Recreation Center’s playground after witnesses told police that they saw the African American boy was waving around a gun that appeared authentic; it was a toy. Tamir died from the gunshot wound a day later. He was only 12 at the time.

“I’m glad that CMSD schools did not forget about him, and now I have four high school graduates being a single parent, so I want to thank CMSD because this means everything to me,” Rice said.

Fast forward seven years, and he would’ve been graduating high school

“Tamir became an icon of police violence in America,” said Eric Gordon, Chief Executive Officer at CMSD. “His name recognized time and again in the national debate over police reform and a growing reminder every day that his life and all Black lives matter.”

After all these years, Tamir’s mom is still fighting for justice for her son.

“Well, back to work for me,” said Rice. “Unfortunately, I am in the city of Cleveland fighting for the civilian oversight to be implemented and just really want to galvanize the community and let them know how important it is to have that civilian oversight. I’m a part of citizens of safer Cleveland, and you know I did not know the consent decree has been here four times, so there needs to be a change in this city from all of the corruption that has been going on way before me, and you was born.”

If you want to follow Rice’s fight for justice, you can follow her campaign justice page on Facebook.

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