Today is Philando Castile Day.
I wish that it was as beautiful and styled of a day as its name – his name – suggests. I remember being awestruck when I first heard it.
Philando Castile. You could just tell that it was picked carefully, and with love.
He grew into a man with cool ‘locs and a warm heart. Philando was a school cook. He made lunches for little kids to make sure they had food to fuel their learning. He was a father, a son, and a partner to a woman that loved him.
He was also stopped 49 times by the police for minor traffic violations. some real, mostly false. On or around the 50th stop, he was shot and killed by a police officer while reaching for his ID.
I remember watching the Facebook video. It was the first time I had ever see someone die. I was so stunned by it all, watching from the floor of my living room with my jaw wide open.
I’ve been black my whole life, so I knew that Philando Castile – the man with a gift for a name – was not the first to die in front of a gun and a blue uniform. I knew that there was only grace separating us; i could have easily sat in that dying in that Oldsmobile on a warm summer night. But to see his confusion and helplessness across my screen has chilled me in a way that i won’t ever forget.
I hope none of us will