Activist Antionette Carroll calls Ralph Yarl shooting a hate crime

Carroll has operated her nonprofit since 2014

Antionette Carroll has made her mark in the social justice world over the past decade. In 2014 after Michael Brown Jr.’s tragic death in Ferguson, Missouri, Carroll launched the St. Louis-based Creative Reaction Lab, which encourages Black youth to develop healthy support systems.

Carroll spoke with rolling out about the case involving 17-year-old Ralph Yarl, who was shot in the head after knocking on the wrong door in Kansas City.

Have there been new developments in the case involving Ralph Yarl?

It’s very upsetting what happened to Ralph. A Black boy out trying to pick up his brothers and unfortunately, being shot just by going to the wrong house? How many times do we hear these stories? The upsetting part is, right now, there still hasn’t been an update on if it’s going to be recognized as a hate crime. Even though, as we have seen by just proof of what has occurred in this action, it is a hate crime, it is a violent act that literally happened because of different biases and prejudice.

Even the individual that committed the act said they were fearful because of size, even though Ralph is not that large. It’s one of those where there’s a lot of clear racial bias in this. It’s still only being recognized as an assault, not as a hate crime, not as an attempted murder.

What do you think more attention to this case can do to ensure justice for Ralph Yarl’s family?

We need to make sure we don’t just say the name and then forget the names. Don’t just have the names be in history as placards and don’t do anything around action.

I don’t know his family, so I would never presume to speak for his family, but as someone that has lost my 14-year-old brother to gun violence in 2018, a 13-year-old boy that was a friend actually shot him in his room. No one can prepare you for what justice would look like, yes, the young boy was incarcerated, but I feel like there was this larger issue of systemic change that needs to happen. And it’s the same in this case, right?

With this family, your young man is dealing with the trauma of this and there’s always going to be trauma. “Am I allowed to be in this community? Can I show up fully? Will I be targeted again?” There’s going be a lot of kind of healing that will have to continually happen for Ralph and his family.

“I do believe them seeing the community around them, just like … what happened with my brother, I had a community around me, makes it more palatable to navigate because you don’t feel like you’re alone. You don’t feel like you’re the only one trying to push against the system that has been around for centuries.

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