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.

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.