he shooting of an unarmed African American teen, Ralph Yarl, by an 84-year-old white man, Andrew Lester, in Kansas City has sparked an outcry from people around the United States of America and the world. Ralph Yarl, a 16-year-old, was on his way to pick up his younger twin brothers but drove to the wrong address. He got shot through a locked glass door in the head and arm by Lester for only knocking on his door and “being on his property.” However, news has gone around that Yarl is discharged from the hospital and recovering. On the other hand, Lester, who was arrested and charged with first-degree assault, has been granted a bond and returned home.
This would have been swept under the carpet as a usual everyday racist occurrence, if not for fed-up celebrities who said “Not again!” This unfortunate incident has led to protests around the city, especially with Yarl’s classmates demanding justice. The case of Ralph Yarl and Andrew Lester reminds us of the importance of continued advocacy for social justice in the US. Black celebrities have played a critical role in this advocacy, using their influence to uplift the movement and encourage their fans to take action.
On social media, stars like Halle Berry, Morris Chestnut, Viola Davis, and others have expressed their annoyance with this problem, especially regarding young Black people. This has raised more conversations about the need for unarmed individuals to protect themselves. These celebrities continue to express concern and speak out about the deaths caused by social injustice, discrimination, and systemic racism.
Is Ralph Yarl an independent case?
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The shooting of this Black teenager has shed light on other similar unprovoked shootings of young people in the U.S. Two days after Yarl’s shooting, there was the case of 20-year-old Kaylin Gillis, who was shot dead by a homeowner after she and her friends mistakenly pulled up on his driveway. There was no reason for the shooter (Kevin Monahan) to feel threatened, as none of these youngsters stepped out of the vehicle. This was also the case for two Texas cheerleaders, Payton Washington and Heather Roth, who got shot after Roth entered a car she mistook for hers in a parking lot. This happened five days after Ralph Yarl’s shooting.
The aforementioned are just the ones that made it to the news. The case of gun violence has reached its peak in the U.S., and it’s strange that it still hasn’t been regulated. While this happens beyond race, the number of racist-linked shootings is undoubtedly on the increase.
Why is it necessary for black celebrities to voice out for Ralph Yarl?
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Black celebrities have the platforms to amplify the voices of those often marginalized and overlooked in society. By sharing stories and perspectives from people directly affected by issues like systemic racism, discrimination, and police brutality, they can raise awareness and curb the problem.
In addition, the stars can also be a means to amplify crowdfunding efforts to assist victims of racially-motivated attacks. For instance, Yarl’s aunt Faith Spoonmore opened a GoFundMe account for Ralph to help with his medical expenses. Considering the impressive results Black stars have recorded for crowdfunding campaigns such as this, it’ll come as no surprise the impact that can be made to help this young teenager get his life back if Black celebrities promote this platform and also encourage their fans to donate to the cause.
More than 1500 protesters have rallied around the neighborhood where Ralph got shot, and the protest is flooding social media too. The hashtags #ralphyarl and #justiceforralphyarl have become popular. Protests and events are powerful ways to bring attention to social justice issues and create meaningful change. We saw it during the Black Lives Matter movement where the stars used their influence to encourage their fans to participate in these events. We even witnessed them speak at these protests.
There is also a need to change the narratives and stereotypes surrounding Black people. Some Black entertainers have taken up younger African Americans to mentor and uplift them. By sharing their experiences and offering guidance, they can help create more opportunities for Black creatives in their respective industries. Hence, doing the African American community a big help.
Has Andrew Lester been convicted?
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Lester’s grandson Klint Ludwig told CNN, “The warning signs were there. I wasn’t shocked when I heard the news, I believe he held — holds — racist tendencies and beliefs.” Meanwhile, his ex-wife also said, “I was always scared of him… it doesn’t surprise me what happened.” However, his other grandson countered his brother’s views.
The white homeowner has been charged with two felonies: first-degree assault and armed criminal action. But nothing in these charges proves this was a racially-inclined attack. (Although it was gathered that Lester had made lots of racist comments in the past). The 84-year-old pleaded not guilty and claimed he was defending himself because of Yarl’s size and was scared to death. (It’s important to note that the young man isn’t even up to 6 feet tall and wasn’t confrontational in any way).
Irrespective of the global uproar, Lester has been released after paying 10% of the $200,000 bail. Doctors say Yarl is home and making a recovery. His mother, an experienced nurse, credits his recovery to his family of trained medical professionals who have thrown in their weight on the unfortunate happenstance.
As we continue to wait and pray for Ralph Yarl’s full recovery before he makes a statement, I appreciate every Black entertainer who isn’t silent but lends their voice to speak against the brutality targeted towards African Americans. And like the celebrities who spoke out, I am demanding justice for Ralph. We continue to wish him, and his family, safety and security.
Featured image: @arielsinhaha/Instagram
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A creative writer with a voracious appetite for fashion, beauty, lifestyle and culture. As one who's passionate about the advancement of the woman, creating content that inspire smart style and living, and positive lifestyle changes is a calling I take seriously. At Style Rave, we aim to inspire our readers by providing engaging content to not just entertain but to inform and empower you as you ASPIRE to become more stylish, live smarter and be healthier. Follow us on Instagram @StyleRave_ ♥