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Samaria Rice speaks at Kent State University’s May 4 commemoration

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KENT, Ohio-- The mother of Tamir Rice was the keynote speaker as Kent State University observed the 46th anniversary of when National Guard troops opened fire on Vietnam War demonstrators, killing four students and wounding nine others on May 4, 1970.

Classes were cancelled at Kent State for several hours Wednesday afternoon giving students, many of whose parents were not even alive when the shooting happened, a chance to attend the gathering.

Members of the university's May 4 Coalition also remembered the deaths of two students from Jackson State in Mississippi ten days after the Kent State shootings.

Among those in the crowd were members of various organizations including Black Lives Matter, there to show support for Samaria Rice.

Rice told the crowd she still hopes to get indictments of the officers involved through the U.S. Justice Department.

She also said she sees parallels between the shooting of her son and the shootings at Kent State 46 years earlier.

"We are still wanting justice for these four babies that was killed, because at the end of the day they still somebody's baby; you know what I'm saying? And I was just blown away that they haven't received justice yet and I don't understand. I'm having a hard time understanding that; when you are talking about the National Guard shooting inside of a crowd of civilians, some unarmed civilians, college students, at that-- America should be ashamed of they self, period," said Rice.

"White-privileged America, black lives matter; all lives matter. We can all get together and have some change across America; you know what I'm saying? It's going to take all of us to change this. Yes, please continue to support me and my fight for justice for Tamir," she added.

Rice spoke about social injustice and called racism a disease. She said she wants her son's death to be a catalyst for change.

"My job is to make them uncomfortable. I don't sugar coat nothing. I cant be bought and sold; I'm the real deal Holyfield. So it's just a shame; America has a lot of cleaning up to do and whatever I can help them do, I'm here for them," said Rice.

Rice said she intends to create a Tamir Rice Foundation which will provide mentoring and scholarships.

She denies that her son had any responsibility in the incident that resulted in his death.
"That gun wasn't in my house. A friend of his gave it to him; you know what I'm saying? So I don't understand how they can decharacterize Tamir's character. He could never have caused his own death, not in a million years. At this point you talking about purity. He's a kid. That's as pure as we going to get. No kid's going to lie. They always going to tell the truth," added Rice.
Her remarks received frequent applause from the supportive crowd.

"Continue to support us in our fight for justice, all of the families that have lost their loved ones due to police brutality, law enforcement, National Guard- please support us and keep us lifted in prayer. I know due to the support around the nation, you guys been supporting me; that's really how I'm standing and covered in the blood of Jesus," said Rice.

 

Cleveland police shot and killed Rice's 12-year-old son, Tamir, outside of Cudell Rec Center at in November 2014. Police said he had an airsoft pistol that looked much more powerful, and he reached for it. A 911 caller said the gun may be fake, but that was never passed along to officers on the scene.

Last December, the county prosecutor announced no criminal charges would be issued against the officers.

The city eventually reached a $6 million settlement with Tamir's family.

Read more on Tamir Rice here.

Read more on the Kent State shootings here.