The state of race relations in a post Tamir Rice Cleveland

Posted at 11:11 PM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-23 23:11:57-05

This week marks two years since 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by Cleveland Police Officers.

The story drew national attention and scrutiny with the eyes of the nation on Cleveland; many wondered if Rice’s death would change anything.

News 5 hosted a discussion asking if his death had.

At a church in Cleveland Heights, we spoke to an interracial couple, two white church pastors, and three young African Americans, asking them thought-provoking questions about how race plays into their everyday lives.

“Has anything changed and for better, for worse, not at all?" asked News 5 Reporter, James Gherardi.

"I think things have changed, I think everything has become very clear and in the forefront,” said John Lentz, Pastor of Forest Hills Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights.

“I don't look at it as change for the better or change for the worse, I think we're still in the midst of the tension and we shall see,” said Cleveland resident, Caleb Wright.

“People have been able to be seen, especially in comments sections and responses to Tamir's case specifically,” said Maya Jones.

“I can't say specifically here in Cleveland it has changed, but hoping for change,” said Terry Freed.

“I don't think any of the contributing factors that create such an incident have really changed,” said Chip Freed, Pastor of Garfield Methodist Church.

“It's gotten worse because racism is way more out of the closet now,” said Cleveland resident, Ajah Hale.

Two years after one of the most high-profile police-involved shootings in US history, three men and three women shared open and honest thoughts about the state of race in their city.

“The deaths occurring are completely tragic, there's no way to go around that but the issues that are connected to them and that branch off from them should've been addressed long before he ever went to the park or long before the police ever got the call,” said Wright.

“We have had young people being killed by police since Emmett Till, before Emmett Till, it's not getting worse, it's getting filmed,” said Hale.

“Have you all experienced anything as an interracial couple living in Cleveland that people may be shocked to hear about?" asked News 5 Reporter, James Gherardi.

"Like a family refusing to sit with us at a Hibachi restaurant, I guess that would qualify but you got to hit us between the eyes with a two by four to make us see it, but there's times when folks are uncomfortable, we get that, I think especially in the current climate,” said Freed.

And when asked if there were any clear solutions, Jones presented a timely answer, made obvious by something we all share, “I think tomorrow is the perfect opportunity to have some of these hard conversations… because they're not going to be able to listen to the things that I have to offer in the same way that they're going to take and listen to what you have to offer,” she said.