A month of pain

A month ago today, July 5, Philando Castile was still alive.

The cell phone video that Diamond Reynolds livestreamed on July 6 after Saint Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez shot her boyfriend multiple times during a traffic stop has been viewed millions of times.

It’s a been a month of pain.

July 5. Police fatally shoot Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge.

July 6. Police fatally shoot Philando Castile in Falcon Heights.

July 7. A man fatally shoots five police officers, and injures 11 others, in Dallas.

July 17.  A man fatally shoots three police officers and injures three others, in Baton Rouge.

In this month of pain, our community has come together, joining hands in prayers and protests. Our community has also come apart. We see the same video, Philando bleeding out, and yet see it so very differently.

We see and hear many things so differently.

“Would this have happened if…the driver and passenger would have been white? I don’t think it would.”— Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton

“The staff and Board of the Science Museum of Minnesota join the community in mourning the tragic death of Philando Castile.” —Sign outside the Science Museum of Minnesota exhibit, RACE: Are We So Different, taken down after four days of angry Facebook comments

“Why? Why did you make this about race, why are there not matching signs for the officers who’ve lost their lives? This sign is based on many assumptions. Take it down!” post on Science Museum Facebook page

“The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery. The driver looks like one of our suspects, just ‘cause of the wide-set nose.” — Saint Anthony police officer, on scanner

“This had nothing to do with race and everything to do with the presence of the gun that Mr. Castile had.”—Thomas Kelly, attorney for officer Jeronimo

“We’re being hunted, every day. It’s a silent war against African American people as a whole. We’re never free.”—Valerie Castile, mother of Philando

“How can it be that so many well-meaning white people have never thought about race when so few blacks pass a single day without being reminded of it?”  —Patricia J. Williams,  RACE: Are We So Different exhibit

“Race was invented by white people”— Sun Yung Shin, editor, A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”—James Baldwin, from RACE: Are We So Different exhibit 

In this month of pain, more of us whites are facing what people of color have long known. Nothing can be changed until it is faced.

Saturday, August 6th, marks one month since Philando Castile was killed. Please bring flowers and candles for a vigil at J.J. Hill Montessori, 998 Selby Avenue, Saint Paul.

P.S. (The Roseville Library will host a community conversation about race, facilitated by Sun Yung Shin, editor of A Good Time to Talk About the Truth: Race in Minnesota. This book event happens Wednesday, August 17, 7pm at the Roseville Library, 2180 N. Hamline Avenue.)

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Author: katehavelin

Whether I'm walking trails or exploring favorite places from my home in Saint Paul to New York, Paris, or Hong Kong, travel keeps me moving forward through life. I've written two trail guides for adults and sixteen nonfiction books for young people, along with dozens of magazine articles and essays.

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