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Daughter filled with pride as Ryan Stokes Memorial Court is dedicated in Kansas City, Missouri

Posted at 11:16 PM, Oct 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-24 00:33:37-04

KANSAS CITY, MO — A family and community came together Saturday to honor Ryan Stokes in a way he would have loved.

The basketball court in Harris Park in KCMO where Stokes grew up learning and playing the game is now the Ryan Stokes Memorial Basketball Court.

For Neirah Lee Stokes, the court is not just about basketball for her.

“ I get to come here and know that my dad was a great man,” said 9 year old Neirah Lee Stokes, daughter of Ryan Stokes.

Neirah Lee Stokes was only 1 when her father was killed by a Kansas City, Missouri Police Office.

She continues to learn about him 8 years later.

“He was kind loving and nice and he was never mad, and he was always happy,” said Neirah.

Stokes was shot and killed near the Power & Light District.

“Its been so rough and just heartbreaking and my soul just aches with the pain of trying to understand the 8 years of this tragic death of Ryan,” said Narene Stokes, Ryan Stokes’s mother.

Britany Lee Stokes, the mother of Stokes' daughter Neriah, says the unveiling of the memorial court at Harris Park is a step to justice and healing.

“Today is very honorable and it’s heavy on our hearts because it’s emotional, but it’s such a blessing to come somewhere we can remember him by and just doing something for the community” Stokes said.

The community that loved and played basketball with him helped create the new court.

“We came up with the idea of a basketball court and then really being a restorative justice in action that there was more to the name than Ryan Stokes,” said Sam Yates of Yup Yup Design.

“So we did all little shout outs in the mural that depict him as a little airman jump man logo, a little belly, his cornrows, and then we have the cross to symbolize what he wore and of course we have a giant 15 foot fatback,” said Phil Shafer with Sike Style Industries.

The court also symbolizes a unified community continuing to fight for justice for the Stokes family and his daughter.

“ I get to come here and know that my dad was a great man,” said Neirah Lee Stokes.