May 28, 2021 --
Tamir Rice was many things beyond a victim of over-policing. He was a son, a brother, and a friend. He was a student, an artist who liked working in sculpture and pottery, an athlete who excelled in football, basketball, soccer and swimming. He was, above all, a child.
But what many may not know is that he was also a student in our very own district. Tamir attended Roxboro Elementary School for the majority of his 4th grade year.
It is for that reason that his mother, Samaria Rice, has chosen the Roxboro Elementary/Middle School campus as one of four locations in Cleveland for an art supply collection box.
A joint project between the Tamir Rice Foundation and the arts organization SPACES, the supplies collected will be used primarily for arts programming at the Cuyahoga County Detention Center in the belief that incarcerated children deserve access to the arts.
The trauma-based, healing-centered arts programming will be run by Cleveland artist Lexy Lattimore and the Cuyahoga County Jail Coalition Arts and Culture team. They will include a variety of medium from pottery to photography to dance and performance.
According to the SPACES website, “The mission of these workshops and this partnership is to empower justice-impacted youth with the creative skills to express their feelings and tell their stories while building healing relationships with peers and community members.”
Any and all new or gently used supplies are welcome. Surplus supplies, including those that aren't allowed into the Detention Center, will be used for future arts programming at the Tamir Rice Afrocentric Cultural Center, which Ms. Rice is opening in a renovated building on St. Clair.
CH-UH Supervisor of Community & School Partnerships Nancy Peppler worked with Ms. Rice and Leila Khoury, the Creative Engagement Coordinator at SPACES, to bring the collection box to Cleveland Heights. “Our teachers will definitely wrap their arms around this. Student groups too,” she said at the installation of the box on Wednesday, May 19. “It fits into the trauma-informed care plans that exist in each building.”
The collection box will remain on campus through the fall, allowing teachers and student groups to include organizing donations in their social justice work. “We have students with family members who are or have been incarcerated,” added Peppler, so this is a natural and tangible action step.
When an 8th grade English class came out to explore the box at the end of the day, one student immediately searched her backpack to see what supplies she could donate. “All I have is a mechanical pencil,” she said as she placed it through the slot. “But it’s fully loaded!”
The 400-pound galvanized steel box was painted with images celebrating Tamir’s life by Cleveland-based artists Antwoine Washington, James Quarles, and Davon Brantley. There are three other boxes around the city, including one at Toby’s Plaza in Uptown near the Museum of Contemporary Art, another in front of SPACES on Detroit, and one at Robinson G. Jones Elementary School on W.150th, where Tamir was also a student.
According to Khoury, this supply drive “creates a full circle to the problems of the police state and kids continuing to be failed by over-policing.”
Tamir Rice was a child. Who made embroidery and pottery for his mother. Now his mother will share that opportunity with other children. And we get to be part of it. The weather-resistant collection bin is located right in from of Roxboro Middle school on W. St. James Parkway. If you would rather make a financial donation, that should go directly to the Tamir Rice Foundation at www.tamirericefoundation.org.