Amid ongoing discord at this year’s Democratic National Convention, with disillusioned progressives rallying in the hundreds in protests against the neoliberal wing of the party, the mothers of victims killed by anti-Black police brutality were among Tuesday night’s featured speakers.
The mothers of Dontre Hamilton, Blair Holt, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, and Mike Brown took to the convention’s stage to share personal stories of their children, policing and systemic racism — as well as to argue that U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is the best candidate to address gun violence. But one victim’s mother — that of Tamir Rice, was not present.
Earlier this year, Clinton gained the endorsements of Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin; Geneva Reed-Veal, the mother of Sandra Bland, Lezley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown; and Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner. But when Samaira Rice, the mother of Tamir was asked to endorse her, she declined.
Mothers that lost children to gun violence speak at the DNC. | Photo: AFP
In an interview with Fusion last week, she said that no candidate is “speaking [her] language about police reform.”
“(I want) a lot on the table, not a little bit of talk, a lot of talk about police brutality, police accountability, making new policies, taking some away, and just reforming the whole system. I think that would make me feel better, and no candidate has (done) that for me yet,” she explained further.
Just like many young Black Lives Matter activists who had supported Bernie Sanders – or who are otherwise disillusioned by the colonial, capitalist electoral system – Samaira Rice seeks justice from beyond the United States’ elected officials and the reigning two party system.
Critical of current U.S. President Barack Obama, who she sees as not doing enough to challenge the state’s complicity in police brutality, she’s disappointed that even the nation’s first Black president has not protected Black people from racist cops.
Following the killing of her son, Tamir Rice – two years ago, where police mistook the 12-year old’s toy gun for a real one and shot him point-blank – Samaria Rice says she is no longer the same person, having been thrust into the limelight despite her desire to just be a part of raising awareness about police brutality.
“I consider myself normal, just raising my kids and just being a single parent. We seen Trayvon Martin on TV and seen Michael Brown, but when it hit us, it’s just like … I don’t know,” she told Fusion. “It’s like, ‘What happened?’ Now I’m thrown into the movement and into the struggle.”
She prefers protesting on the streets and forcing politicians to have uncomfortable conversations about police brutality, instead of endorsing them for office or passively showing up at their rallies.
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