Samaria Rice's biggest battle this election cycle isn't happening at the ballot box.
Her son, 12-year-old Tamir Rice, was fatally shot and killed by Cleveland police officers in November 2014. His offense? Holding a toy gun that some witnesses, and police, mistook for a real gun. To date, neither officer who responded to the scene has been indicted. In fact, Cuyahoga County prosecutors found a way to blame Tamir Rice for his own death.
Of course, none of this sits well with his mother, who has traveled the country on her Justice for Tamir Speak Out Tour. The circumstances surrounding her son's death, and the inaction that's followed, are why she hasn't endorsed a candidate this election season, she wrote Tuesday morning in a letter on Medium.
"While I've continued to push my state's officials towards real changes, several presidential candidates have said my son's name in their mouth, using his death as an example of what shouldn't happen in America," she wrote. "Twelve-year-old children should never be murdered for playing in a park. But not a single politician: local, state or federal, has taken action to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Several presidential candidates have said my son's name in their mouth, using his death as an example of what shouldn't happen in America.
Samaria Rice's non-endorsement comes as several other mothers of murdered black boys and men, including Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin), Gwen Carr (Eric Garner) and Lucia McBath (Jordan Davis) have endorsed Hillary Clinton. Eric Garner's daughter, Erica Garner, threw her support behind Bernie Sanders and appeared in a widely watched campaign ad:
But not Samaria Rice. "Instead of plans for justice and accountability, I have been shown several plans for criminal justice reform, none that address my experience of the entire system being guilty," she wrote on Medium.
Her non-endorsement is the clearest sign yet that black women, particularly black women whose lives have been shaped by police and gun violence, have an unprecedented amount of power in this national election. Their words speak volumes. But their silence does, too.