Commentary: A Teen's First-Person View of the Mall St. Matthews 'Riot'
Miyale is a 14-year-old Louisvillian who was at the Mall St. Matthews with her friends and aunt on Dec. 26. She described her experience as part of WFPL's weekly commentary series.
I got to the mall at 6 o’clock and everything was chill, but there were a lot of people — mostly middle- and high-schoolers. I was there to meet my friend. As we got closer to the food court, which is where everybody was, I saw a group of boys just standing around talking.
The security guards went over and told them to move, even though they weren’t doing anything. One of the boys spoke up and asked why. The security lady got in his face, and he told her to get out of his face. So she grabbed him and began to escort him out of the mall. He resisted it, and then his friend grabbed him and they just left together.
On the other side of the food court, there was a lot of commotion because there was a security guard escorting a boy out. Everybody followed to see what was happening.
Apparently there were some fights, but I didn’t see any of them. My friend and I went outside and realized that we were in the back by El Nopal and Dillard’s. We didn’t want to walk all the way around to the front, so we went back inside.
When we went in, we saw everybody running toward us. I heard “BOOM BOOM,” so we turned around and ran back outside. I called my aunt, who was with me, and told her to get out. Then I called my other aunt and told her to come get us and told her what happened. Then I called my mom and told her what happened. Then I called my friends to make sure they were OK.
My friend and I walked over to Whole Foods. We were in there for about a half hour. In that time the police cars, helicopter, ambulance and news reporters all had come.
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My friend and I were waiting for her mom. There were a few other teens in there waiting for rides. A policeman came in, banged his keys on one of the booths and told us to get out.
I don’t know where he expected us to go. I was on the phone with my aunt trying to figure out where she parked. Then he was in my face saying, "Call her, why don’t you ask her where she’s parked." And that is exactly what I was doing.
I think some authority figures need to learn respect. Even though we are young, we still deserve respect. There were so many lies on the news. There were absolutely no riots.
But the biggest lie was that it all started on social media.
It was the day after Christmas. We had money and gift cards, and we were anxious to spend them. We just happened to plan to go to the mall with friends on the same day. There was no conflict on social media. The only problem was that teens got mixed into the adrenaline and excitement of the crowd and seeing old friends.
We were bashed so heavily by the grown people on social media — most of whom weren’t even there. Not just us teens but our parents as well.
Even though our generation is looked down on, we are one of a kind and have something great to offer. We are going to make mistakes. But how do we fix the mistakes we make if our opportunities and privileges are taken away from us?
WFPL’s commentaries run Friday mornings online and on 89.3 FM. To read more, click here.