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.

Never Forget – A Letter Written to My Son on September 11, 2001

“That’s what it takes to be a hero, a little gem of innocence inside you that makes you want to believe that there still exists a right and wrong. That decency will somehow triumph in the end.  -Lisa Hand

 At the time, we had no idea how the events of that day would change our lives forever. I worked at American Express Financial Advisors downtown Minneapolis, and the corporate headquarters of American Express was right across the plaza from the towers in New York. We lost 11 employees that day. For weeks the company had internal message boards, where workers could go to read and write their accounts of what they witnessed on that day. Those of us who worked in other locations could share our condolences.  The company put up a memorial in their honor called “Eleven Tears‘.

Since my son was a baby I have kept journals where I write letters to him. Below is my note from September 11, 2001.

 09-11-01 “Today was a day that will change how we do things in America. I was on a conference call at work with some field leaders who work in the Carolinas and one of them told me what happened. I could hardly believe it and went to to see what I could find. The World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon had been attacked by some people who were not nice at all. My employer told us if we didn’t feel safe we should go home and we all left. 

People began evacuating downtown Minneapolis and it was so crazy we could not even get a taxi out of the city and the whole nation is stunned.  They closed down businesses, the stock exchange, the airlines, etc., all across the country for the first time in history. Locally they reported prayer vigils at churches all over the Twin Cities and the globe. It was an emotional day for everyone.

When I finally did get home, we spent the day together with the television and non-stop special reports all day as everyone was trying to make sense of the chaos. I remember sitting on the rocking chair in the living room watching the news in disbelief as your little ten month old body was sleeping so peacefully on my chest and I was praying as the tears fell quietly down my face. I felt so numb I could barely speak today. 

Son, the message I want you to take from all of this is that freedom is not something we take lightly. Those who went before us fought and died for our freedom and there are people now still doing the same thing. We need to never forget what happened and to remember those people and their families in our thoughts daily. The opposite of love is fear and the opposite of hate is compassion.  May you always walk in love and compassion. ILY – Mom

Please share your comments below, thoughts and experiences below.