Village Voice journalist Nick Pinto tweeted out an image of seven words plastered across a sticker on a Cleveland Rapid Transit bus on Tuesday.
“Tamir,” read first line, followed by “America! You Haven’t Come That Far,” on the second.
Almost two years ago, a 12-year-old Cleveland boy named Tamir Rice was killed in front of the Cudell Commons and Recreation Center when officer Timothy Loehmann drove up, immediately opening fire on Rice as he held a toy gun. Rice’s family received a $6 million settlement from the city, topped with a grand jury’s decision not to indict Loehmann.
The sticker is a stark reminder of the competing ideologies that exist in Cleveland this week as the GOP celebrates day three of an outrageous convention.
Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke opened his convention speech by praising the acquittal of three Baltimore officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray, a Black man killed from a severed spine after his arrest in April 2015. Clarke showed blatant disregard and insensitivity to Black America and Cleveland, a city still reeling after Rice’s tragic end.
Cleveland’s population stands at 388,072, 35.9 percent of which lives below the poverty level, according to the latest census data. Thirty seven percent of residents are White and 53 percent are Black.
The GOP had the perfect opportunity to present a platform with real solutions that address the Black population, locally and abroad. Unless you count Donald Trump’s coalition created to address African-Americans, headed by former Apprentice star Omarosa Manigault.
Instead, the GOP set a disparaging tone with speakers like Clarke and Rudy Giuliani, who peddled the message that “Blue Lives Matter,” while other members of the RNC furthered narratives tinged with xenophobia, racism, and misogyny.
In the past year, sensible Republican leaders tried distancing themselves from Trump’s divisive rhetoric but eventually succumbed, saying it was time to unite their fragmented party.
While the sign on the city bus takes a swipe at GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again,” it also addresses the validity of Black lives – Tamir’s specifically.
The Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland and the recreation center where Tamir was killed stand just four miles apart, but the space between the priorities of the RNC and the people the sticker represents couldn’t be further apart.
SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter