- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 18, 2021

The mother of Tamir Rice, whose police-involved shooting in Cleveland sparked protests more than six years ago, is demanding prominent Black Lives Matter activists “stop monopolizing and capitalizing off our fight for justice.”

Samaria Rice issued a joint statement Tuesday with Lisa Simpson, the mother of Richard Risher, accusing the Black Lives Matter Global Network and prominent activists Tamika Mallory, Shaun King, Patrisse Cullors, Melina Abdullah, Benjamin Crump and Lee Merritt of “clout-chasing” on the backs of grieving families.

“We never hired them to be the representatives in the fight for justice for our dead loved ones murdered by the police,” the women wrote. “The ‘activists’ have events in our cities and have not given us anything substantial for using our loved ones’ images and names on their flyers.”

“We don’t want or need y’all parading in the streets accumulating donations, platforms, movie deals, etc. off the death of our loved ones, while the families and communities are left clueless and broken,” they continued. “Don’t say our loved ones’ names period! That’s our truth!”

Ms. Rice and Ms. Simpson issued a list of demands asking that the people mentioned “step down from the spotlight,” stop holding events “in the name of our loved ones,” and “stop clout chasing and ambulance chasing these families.”

Ms. Simpson is demanding Black Lives Matter Los Angeles pay her for a 2016 fundraiser she said she “never received one penny” from. She said she is now living in a motel with her children, “battling homelessness” and wants “housing funds” from the Black Lives Matter organization.

Ms. Rice is demanding financial assistance for the Tamir Rice Foundation and the remodeling of its cultural center in Cleveland.

The women’s complaints against the Black Lives Matter Global Network are not the first of their kind. Earlier this month, the father of Michael Brown and other activists in Ferguson, Missouri, where the Black Lives Matter movement broke into the national spotlight in 2014, demanded $20 million from the BLM organization following an Associated Press report that it raised over $90 million last year.

“Where is all that money going?” Michael Brown Sr. said in a March 2 press release with the International Black Freedom Alliance (IBFA). “How could you leave the families who are helping the community without any funding?”

Mr. King, an activist and writer who was slammed in Ms. Rice‘s and Ms. Simpson‘s letter as having “exploited” the deaths of Black men, responded to the criticism in a blog post by defending Ms. Mallory, who is a former Women’s March organizer and Black Lives Matter activist but unaffiliated with the BLM organization.

“Nearly 20 years ago, Tamika tragically lost her son’s father to a senseless act of gun violence that could’ve also easily derailed Tamika’s life if she let it,” Mr. King wrote. “For the past 20 years, she’s given her whole life to fighting for our people in every way she knows how.”

Ms. Mallory, who has not publicly responded to the criticism, sparked the ire of Ms. Rice on Sunday after she appeared on the Grammys stage during Lil Baby’s performance,” in which she chanted during a mock protest “Until Freedom,” which is the name of her organization, according to Mr. King. 

“Look at this clout chaser,” Ms. Rice wrote in a Facebook post. “Did she lose something in this fight i don’t think so. That’s the problem they take us for a joke that’s why we never have justice cause of s—t like this.”

Tamika Mallory was representing women. So how did you come over in our fight for police brutality?” she later told Celeveland.com in an interview. “I’ve never met Tamika Mallory. But I don’t like the way she’s moving. You’ve seen her over the years and now [her status] is elevated. They need to go get a life and stand back and get up out our fight.”

“People like Tamika Mallory are making money from this, while I’m homeless living in a hotel,” Ms. Simpson separately told Cleveland.com. “If they don’t give us justice, we’re taking it by any means necessary. That goes for the Tamika Mallorys, the Shaun Kings, the NAACP, ACLU, Al Sharpton or anyone trying to get in our way.”

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