FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - Today would have been Tamir Rice’s 18th birthday.
He was killed by police when he was 12 years old outside a recreation center in Cleveland. Tamir’s name has now become part of the national Black Lives Matter conversation.
A local teenager and his mom shared what it is like growing up Black in America.
”I’m a 17-year-old young man just living life, trying to be successful in life,” said Caleb Thompson-Bennett.
Caleb is a rising senior. He loves to play football and hang out with this friends.
In a world full of men like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tamir Rice, he says he has to think about more than his love for the field.
“It makes me feel kind of nervous and scared because any of those people could have been me,” said Caleb.
Caleb is going into his senior year with hopes of earning an athletic scholarship to college but in the days between his mother still has some lessons to share.
She taught him how to conduct himself around police. Don’t wear his hood.
Keep his hands out of his pockets. Be polite.
”Anytime that they go anywhere I’m constantly checking their life 360. I’m constantly looking at their location. Not because I don’t trust them, but because I’m scared that , you know, I want him to live out his dreams, said his mom, Janella Thompson. “I want him to get older and its just scary as a parent of a black young man that you can simply go to the store and not come home.”'
But that’s not all she teaches him.
“I also teach them that not everybody is a bad person. Bad people come in all colors and to never judge a person by the outside. Judge them by how that person his,” said Thompson.
That’s all she wants people to do for her son.
”I wish people will take time to see him as a person. He’s kind of a muscular, big kid, but he’s a sweet person,” said Thompson.
Though times are trying and the fight for equality and justice are continuing I asked one last question: “How does it feel to be Black?”
”Oh it feels amazing to me personally. I like it. It’s just good to be a Black male trying to be successful in life,” said Caleb.