TAmir Rice’s legacy will live on thanks to a new butterfly monument now open to the public in Cleveland. On Saturday, the Tamir Rice Foundation held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the unveiling of Tamir’s butterfly memorial in Cudell Park, the same place where his life was taken nearly eight years ago.
“This butterfly garden was created by the community of Tamir, who helped make it something beautiful for better memories in the future, for the park, the Rice Family and the community,” reads a marker on the site.
On Instagram, the foundation told supporters they wanted to create a memorial plaque to honor young Tamir’s life, as well as his 20th birthday, which would have been on June 25. The space was also dedicated in honor of Tamir’s sister, Tajai Rice, who was dealt with by authorities after she arrived at the devastating shooting scene.
“The butterfly is an example of qualitative change that occurs after a series of quantitative changes by the caterpillar. Ella Baker once referred to quantitative changes. She called it the spades of organizing. The thankless details, the organization of the community leading to the revolution of society,” Molly Nagin, the vice president of the Tamir Rice Foundation, told the local news station cleveland 19.
In remarks at the ceremony, Senator Sherrod Brown paid tribute to the Rice family and Tamir, while also acknowledging the recent murder of Jayland Walker in Akron, Ohio.
“We mourn all the lives lost to gun violence in our community, but it hurts so much when those deaths are caused by the people who were supposed to protect us all,” said Brown. “Tamir Rice’s life mattered. The life of Jalyland Walker mattered. All black lives are important. And because of the work of this mother of Samaria rice, other sons and daughters will come to this place, and they will know that their lives matter too.”
Tamir was shot and killed by former Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann in November 2014 after he mistook his fake gun for a real firearm. Although Loehmann has never been charged with murdering Tamir, he has been disabled at every attempt to rejoin the police, most recently in the past two weeks in a small Pennsylvania town.
Tamir’s family and loved ones have kept his legacy alive and now, through this butterfly garden monument, are giving a gift to the community from which he was snatched. Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, was instrumental in designing the commemorative piece. The special plaque has Tamir Face on the front with the words “in loving memory of my baby boy Tamir Rice”.
While cutting the ribbon, Rice shared the importance of the memorial to her and her family.
A broken system with no remorse for human life is designed to destroy family lives. We must show unity love so that we can defeat this beast that oppresses our lives. My son is one of the most painful sacrifices the world has to endure.
As his mother, the pain is so real. I will be in pain for the rest of my life. With my pain I was able to turn it into power by being the voice of Tamir and seeing the vision for our community by serving the people especially our youth me and my family struggled daily But by the grace of God we could take it one day at a time and live the best we can.
This butterfly monument is very important to me and my family. This is the last memory I have of my son playing in the park, as children in America should be able to play in parks.
Watch the full ceremony below:
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