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Mother of Tamir Rice to bring arts and cultural center into same community her son was killed

Posted at 10:14 PM, May 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-26 09:01:07-04

Samaria Rice is opening "The Tamir Rice Afrocentric Cultural Center" in the 6000 block of St. Clair Avenue in Cleveland. "The vision comes from Tamir, and I'm just leading the way," said Samaria.

The center may be bare now, but she envisions children performing on a stage in a backroom, bowing violins in the front and creating all of the art they can imagine upstairs, just like Tamir.

"Tamir loved to do like panting and pottery, he loved to draw," she said.

Rice may not know it yet, but her center could be filling a necessary void.

Art programs across the county are funded by a cigarette tax, but that income tax is on a steady downward trend. Some community art programs were slashed by as much as 30 percent in 2017.

"We have a lot of talented children in the city of Cleveland," said Rice. "They don't have any after-school programs, and they're talented and I just want to be able to enhance their talents."

Sadly, Tamir will never reap the benefits of the cultural center. He was gunned down by Cleveland police while he was playing with a toy gun back in 2015.

His death sparked a nationwide protest against police brutality and an excessive use of force, but his mom wants Tamir to be remembered for much more.

"Tamir, his life was sacrificed for change, and I'm going to make sure that happens," she said.

Rice owns the building, but money for renovations and supplies she hopes will come from donations during Tamir's Sweet 16 celebration.

Tickets for Tamir's birthday party in June and more information about the event can be found here.