Moving Forward, Conversations about Justice, Remembering #PhilandoCastile Post 4 of 4

July 14th, 2016 the line and wait was long to get into the doors at the Cathedral of St. Paul before the funeral of Philando Castile that day.  There are no words for what it was like to go in and walk past the body of this man we watched take his last breaths in real time on the internet.

Laying someone to rest does not make the pain go away. Over the past couple of years, we continue to hear crowds chanting; “No Justice, No Peace.” But what is justice? What is it supposed to look like? If we examine the synonyms for the word, it seems to lead lead to more questions.

  • Is there anything fair about what happened here? No
  • Was impartiality exercised in any part of this situation? Most would say no
  • Did it feel like the way this played out was done objectively? Many would say no
  • What about principles regarding the distinction between right and wrong,  or good and bad behavior?
  • Where is the morality in all of it?
  • Are the voices of the people crying out about continued injustice we witness in our communities being heard? Most would say no

It is too much repetition and people are tired. But we have to press forward. I am passionate about service and community. My regular readers see me bring it into my writing consistently. Each one of us has a part to play. One person at a time, one conversation at a time. The dialogue has to carry on and be renewed and we need each other in order to do that. The killing of Philando Castile was one of many experiences that led to the Women’s March last February, when women all over the world came together in what could be considered the greatest movement in the history of the world to speak out about treating ALL people fairly, including:

  • Refugees
  • The rights of undocumented workers
  • People of all faiths
  • The GLBT community
  • Women’s rights
  • Black Lives Matter
  • Building bridges, not walls

It can’t and won’t stop there. We have to use our voices because we need to keep building community, one person at a time, one conversation at a time. That is how we begin the to heal. There will be dialogue where we can agree to disagree without ranting. But we are better when we ask someone to tell us more about their perspective. Seek to understand, because that builds bridges.

A year ago, I wrote a post called; A Prayer and a Poem for #PhilandoCastile & Family: Look Up: What Was Entrusted To You? Pay Attention

Commit: Please, as a tribute, share it with others. Read it out loud to them. Ask them what they think about it. Use it as a tool to continue the dialogue as we continue to lift the Castile Family and others like his up in prayer.

Thank you for visiting my blog, please feel free to leave a comment below, or, if you prefer to ask some questions confidentially, let me know and I will be happy to respect your privacy and respond one to one.

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No Justice. No Peace. Just Us. Remembering #PhilandoCastile Post #3 of 4

July 9th, 2016, the event, a few days after the tragic death of #PhilandoCastile, was planned and carried out with peaceful intention and collaboration with law enforcement. A collage of people with varying skin colors, religious values, ethnicities and nationalities would exercise their 2nd amendment right to peacefully gather and protest in public. Only few in the crowd knew where they were headed when they left the Governors Mansion. What wasn’t in the news that day was that for about ten hours leading up to the time of the event in the photos, the area near 94 and Dale Street in St. Paul was actively being canvased by police to ensure public safety.

Why wasn’t it announced? Because there was no desire to attract troublemakers. Complexity arises when issues that are deemed controversial converge with those who are ignorant or jump to conclusions about intent and then become blended with others who are thrill seekers. Only so much can be controlled in public, so naturally, when problems initially erupted, many (including the media) jumped to conclusions based on hearsay by stating that it was protesters who incited violence. That was not the case.

So what really happened? Those who marched from the Governors Mansion were unified and peaceful. Some in the local neighborhoods near the freeway saw what was happening live or on TV and near their homes, thought it would be “cool” to underhandedly sneak onto the road and incite violence. They were NOT part of the movement, but had every intention of causing trouble. And they did.

So what has occurred since then? The NRA was criticized for speaking up on behalf of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin, yet said nothing to defend Philando’s rights until recently.

Officer Yanez was acquitted by a jury of peers, received a severance package and parted ways with the St. Anthony Police Department.

Falcon Heights, the city where Philando was killed, stepped away from being patroled by The St. Anthony Police department.

A beautiful Memorial Service was held to honor his memory, a police training plan was funded in his name, his former classmates established a scholarship in his name and the Castile family received a settlement from the St. Anthony Police Department.

So have we made progress? Perhaps.

But even then, it still isn’t good enough. It wont bring back Mr. Castile and we will continue to see the same issue repeated in different versions across the country. Friends, we still have more work to do and we can’t do it alone. What action will you take to be a servant leader about these issues?

Thank you for visiting my blog, please feel free to leave a comment below, or, if you prefer to ask some questions confidentially, let me know and I will be happy to respect your privacy and respond one to one.

People as Transition | Bridging Communities One Year Later #BlackLivesMatter Post #2 of 4

People, called to action because they saw no other option. We need to step up because in the end, where there is no justice, its ‘just us,” people coming together for a greater good, one person at a time.

Imagine all the possibilities if each of us did a few things to get involved.

No matter how big or small, it’s up to all of us because that his how we bridge communities. Fellowship, we can’t do it alone and we must remember that as we continue to lift the family of #PhilandoCastile and others like his, up in prayer.

Thank you for visiting my blog, please feel free to leave a comment below, or, if you prefer to ask some questions confidentially, let me know and I will be happy to respect your privacy and respond one to one.

No Justice. In the End, its “Just Us.” Remembering #PhilandoCastile One Year Later Post #1 of 4

….“equal rights, fair play, justice, are all like the air: we all have it, or none of us has it. That is the truth of it.”   -Maya Angelou

A year ago my friend, Alberto Monserrate, was continuously posting a video that I could not ignore. She called him ‘Sir’‘ while her man, Philando Castile, was right there groaning and literally taking his last breaths. She could not console him, nor could she explain what was happening to her four year old daughter in the back seat. Even I could not process what I was seeing. right away. But I do remember how it felt and the questions spinning in my head.

  • How could this happen?
  • Why wasn’t someone coming to help?
  • Why was he pointing the gun in her direction?
  • Where was the compassion for this couple and their child?

He fired seven times. SEVEN. Where was the humanity that we assume should appear in a situation like this? No one was coming to his aid and I still can’t grasp it. I have written blog posts about unjust violence in the past. But this time, it happened close to  home, in my city and presented a view that directly has impact on me and my family in ways I can’t even begin to explain.  

BlackLivesMatterPhilandoCastile

To honor the memory of Philando Castile, my next few blog posts will have pictures I took during the two weeks following his death, where many came together to bridge the injustice that could not be ignored or understood. . People were called to action and realized that we have to step up because in the end, where there is no justice, there is ‘just us,” people coming together for a greater good, one person at a time. Imagine all of the possibilities if we each did a few things to contribute to making a difference. No matter how big or small, it’s up to each person. That is how we build communities. We can’t do it alone and we can’t forget that as we continue to lift his family and others like his, up in prayer.

Thank you for visiting my blog, please feel free to leave a comment below, or, if you prefer to ask some questions confidentially, let me know and I will be happy to respect your privacy and respond one to one.

A Prayer and a Poem for #PhilandoCastile & Family: Look Up: What Was Entrusted To You? Pay Attention

Philando Castile The System Is BrokenLook up and see those who are coming from the north. Where is the flock that was entrusted to you, the sheep of which you boasted?” -Jeremiah 3.2

Look up and notice

with open minds and open hearts
Put yourself in the shoes of an opposing view
Pay attention and listen to those sharing their reality
They have something to say. Their experiences are real.
Their voices matter. They are suffering in despair
They deserve to feel heard. To be heard.

Are you listening?

Because when someone says “I am hurting
The only appropriate response is; “Tell me more, I am listening
Be patient; consider that the first story may not be the whole picture
Be open to new information, in a world full of endless possibilities
These things together will expand minds, hearts and our world

Look up and look around

We continue to see repeated patterns we know exist
Minimizing them torments our intelligence
The idea “if we don’t name it, it can’t exist” is excruciating denial
Inaction leaves us feeling stuck in perpetual wait
What are these patterns trying to tell us?
They are saying that idly standing by is no longer enough
They are directing us to take a stand and to do something
They are making it clear that we have so much more to learn from one another
When different views come together, they merge to create new knowledge, and that is a good thing. I have never known a time when we didn’t need ideas to continue to evolve

 

Entrust: to give someone the responsibility of doing something or of caring for someone or something  (Merriam-Webster)

  • Police officers are given the responsibility of protecting people, property and the law
  • Humanity is given the responsibility of being kind and compassionate to one another

Look Up2Look up:  Today, Philando Castile, who was killed last week in Minnesota by a police officer, will be laid to rest. Say his name. He is not the first and sadly, will not be the last. Let’s work towards coming together and leaving our differences behind.

Pray for these families, because they are our families. Our families are hurting.

Pray for parents of young black men and women, who are faced with presenting a balanced view about systemic injustice, because the dialogue is very complicated. May they be given the words to adequately conduct constructive discourse in a loving manner so that it leads all of us towards the right solution, together. It is time to set our differences aside because we owe it to ourselves, and one another.

I want to hear from you. Thank you for visiting my blog, please feel free to leave a comment below, or, if you prefer to ask some questions confidentially, let me know and I will be happy to respect your privacy and respond one to one.