On July 5, 2016 a police officer shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights. A jury failed to convict the officer. Still, Castile’s legacy lives on in the people he inspired.
Feven Gerezgiher reports:
Five years ago today, a police officer shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights. A jury failed to convict the officer. Still, Castile’s legacy lives on in the people he inspired.
On Sunday, activists with Visual Black Justice led a theatrical performance created in response to his death. Participants marched along University Ave to the state capitol. They carried mock coffins, body bags, and tombstones engraved with names of victims of police brutality. Founder Athena Papagiannopoulos (Papa-gin-ah-polis) wants people to keep talking about policing, even when it’s not on the news.
“Don’t wait until it’s someone you love or someone you know, or someone you kind of knew,” said Papagiannopoulos. “We have to come out here in the streets for these families and make sure we’re preventing this situation from happening to more of our loved ones.”
After Philando’s death, the Castile family created a foundation to support victims of gun and police violence. This evening, the family is hosting a candlelight vigil in his honor. To Castile’s former classmate Adrian Perryman, the commemoration serves to keep public safety on people’s minds.
“I think doing something on the anniversary is a reminder, even if nothing has happened in the last week, last month, just keep that same energy that you had five years ago, and keep fighting until nothing happens like this, like what happened to George Floyd and other individuals in the community,” said Perryman.
Castile was beloved by students in Saint Paul schools, where he was known to pay for their lunches when they couldn’t afford it.
In 2016, Perryman and other Central High School alumni created a college scholarship in Castile’s name that has since funded four students. The scholarship is geared towards encouraging black men to pursue careers in education.
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