Hundreds of students and staff members at Staley High School in Kansas City, Missouri, walked out to support Ralph Yarl on Tuesday morning. The unity walk occurred at Yarl’s high school a day after his release from the hospital, reported KSHB.
Hundreds of students and members of the staff at Staley High School in Kansas City, Missouri, walked out in support of Ralph Yarl on Tuesday morning. The unity walk took place at Yarl’s high school a day after his release from the hospital, reported KSHB.
Last Friday, the 16-year-old was shot twice by a white homeowner as he rang the wrong doorbell to pick up his two younger brothers.
Around 1500 students walked out, which is the majority of the school’s student body, said a school official. Students circled around the campus while chanting “We love you Ralph” and “Justice for Ralph.”
“I was out here to support my friend Ralph through this time he is going through today,” Maddox, Ralph’s friend and a junior at Staley, told KSHB.
Students wore blue, Yarl’s favorite color and the school’s spirit wear, according to the news station. Eliana, one of Yarl’s classmates since they were in the sixth grade, told KSHB that she loves how knowledgeable Yarl is about music.
“I love getting to talk to him about the clarinet, about reeds and music in general,” she said.
Students raised posters made in support of Yarl.
“We stand with you, we support you and know that we’re going to be here for you,” Cayla, a senior who helped organize the walkout, said.
The students received the support of school officials and Kansas City’s mayor Quinton Lucas.
“This display of unity is intended to support Ralph in his recovery and have a positive impact on the community,” Susan Hiland, a spokesperson for North Kansas City Public Schools, told KSHB.
Yarl is set to recover from his gunshot wounds, according to Dr. Faith Spoonmore, his aunt.
“This was not an ‘error’; this was a hate crime,” she said, as previously reported by Blavity. “You don’t shoot a child in the head because he rang your doorbell. The fact that the police said it was an ‘error’ is why America is the way it is.”
Andrew Lester, the man who is accused of shooting Yarl, was charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action on Monday. The next day, he surrendered at the Clay County Detention Center and posted bond in the afternoon, according to The Independent.
Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Yarl family, said they were angry the police only held Lester for two hours, when they legally could have held him for 24.
“If they would have held him for 24 hours, they would have held him long enough to get the statement from the kid with a bullet in his brain,” Merritt told The Independent. “They got the statement the very next day.”
Kahlil Greene, a TikToker who creates content about American history, noted how the shooting is another example of systemic violence against people of color. He put Lester’s age, who is 84, into perspective by showing how old the man was during landmark events in American history – his goal being to show how close some historical events really are.