#IsItReasonable Campaign Illustrates The Effects Of Tamir Rice's Death On His Peers, One Year On
More than a year after 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed, there are more questions than answers about police violence directed toward the black community. The #IsItReasonable campaign, created by members of the Yale Black Law Student Association on the anniversary of Rice's death, doesn't have any answers for the Cleveland community rocked by a preteen's death. Rather, it raises a question of its own: What constitutes "reasonable force" against a child?
Originally, the project was created as an informational resource for those with questions about Rice's death. "Talking with people back home, one of the things that came up the most… was that there was a lot of confusion about why it was taking so long. The first goal was to provide information to the community explaining the legal process," Yale Law student and Cleveland native Marvin Brown, who began the project, explains to Bustle. As such, the #IsItReasonable website includes a wealth of information about the Tamir Rice case, from explaining the difference between a trial and grand jury to discussing "reasonable force," the concept for which the campaign is named.
However, over the course of the month after Rice's death, the project grew to include a photo series illustrating the toll Rice's death had on the community — specifically, how it affected his fellow children, who often perceive more than they're given credit for. "[The children] all knew what was going on. They understood it," Brown said, pointing out that some of the photos were taken in the same elementary school playground where Rice was shot.
The project also served an additional purpose: Reminding viewers that no matter how "threatening" it has been claimed Rice seemed, he was still a 12-year-old child. "Looking at the way the case was being discussed in local media... [We were] losing sight of the fact that this person was a child," Brown tells Bustle. "We wanted to remind people of the fact that this was a child, this could have happened to anyone."
The portraits had two requirements: That the subjects were 12 years or younger, and that they held signs featuring the phrase, "#IsItReasonable?" Aside from these stipulations, children were encouraged to decorate the signs however they see fit. "All we asked was for them to use the hashtag," Brown said.
The results are a powerful humanization of the effects of Rice's death on his community — especially in light of the announcement on Dec. 28 that the grand jury chose not to indict the officers involved in Rice's death. Brown noted that although #IsItReasonable has been well-received since the beginning, there has been a spike in interest since the decision. "It’s gotten a really positive reaction, most of it towards the photos," he said.
Take a look at a few more photos below, and head over to the #IsItReasonable campaign website to learn more about Rice's case.
Images: Courtesy of Marvin Brown (6)