Building Tamir’s Legacy

If I were a faster thinker, I would have a handful of pithy, insightful takeaways prepared to share with you following the hour-long phone conversation I had with Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice, late last month. But alas, my brain is of the slow drip variety, and I’m still processing it all. (Or, as Tom Robbins so wonderfully put it, I’m still lapidating it in the old cerebral gem tumbler.)

What I can tell you now is that Samaria was remarkably open with me, a total stranger. I am always interested and honored when people I interview feel at ease enough to go off script, to keep going after our allotted time, to share with me some of the more personal details of their stories. In this case, I was bowled over by Samaria’s willingness to speak candidly about the death of her son, and about the many kinds of trials she’s endured in its wake. I will long remember her adaptability and determination.

Tamir Rice Cleveland brick building

Tamir Rice and the Cleveland building where a youth center will be opened in his name

As I continue to reflect on my talk with Samaria, I invite you to hear her in her own words in this story I wrote for ioby. Through June 25, Samaria is raising money to renovate the building that will become The Tamir Rice Afrocentric Center, a youth center she’s founding in her son’s name, as well as to host a Sweet Sixteen party for him at the Cleveland Museum of Art this very evening.

If you appreciate Samaria’s work, please consider giving to her campaign.

It’s a great time to be a grassroots fundraiser

So says I! (And I didn’t even know about The Shins song until I wrote that and Googled it to see if it’s a thing.)

I recently wrote a blog post for my client and badass crowd-resourcing platform ioby that starts on this positive note. Call me a Pollyanna, but I just reread it on their website and was cheered to find I still believe it’s true.

Operation Tea Party Hard 80

I found this on Flickr when I searched for “grassroots” (Posted by Anonymous9000: “Brilliant handmade Rorschach mask with the scientology Cult’s Oak Cove building in the background”)

When our parents were our age, how did they raise money to build a new community garden, get a mural painted on an underpass wall, or start an after-school reading program? I’m sure, heroically, they organized bake sales, passed the hat at church, and put up fliers on lampposts.

All of that stuff is great (especially the bake sales), but today’s neighborhood leaders also have The Mighty Internet at their disposal, and the difference is night and day. Case in point: since its founding in 2009, ioby has helped 450 local improvement projects get off the ground with almost $1.5 million in crowdfunded cash.

This ain’t your mama’s Rice Krispies Treat (though, again, I love those, too)! Let’s hear it for the Internet and awesome orgs like ioby. Being a grassroots guy may never have been sweeter.