Last week, the nation watched in shock as the video documenting the death of 32-year-old Philando Castile emerged online. The shooting reminded the country that police brutality against Black bodies is still a major issue. Although his death was undoubtedly one of the most tragic incidents this nation has witnessed, his funeral surely showed the world that his name will not be forgotten.
Yesterday in St. Paul, Minnesota, the family of Castile followed a horse drawn carriage that carried Castile’s body during a large procession. The carriage led procession started at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School, the former work place of Castile, and it concluded at St. Paul Cathedral.
The beautiful service began with a song from Sounds of Blackness, directed by Gary Hines. As the choir began to sing the song, Optimistic, the crowd began clapping and hugging each other. Afterwards, Hines said, “This celebration for brother Philando was really a homecoming and unification of people of all backgrounds.”
Over 1,500 people attended the service, including Gov. Mark Dayton, Rep. Keith Ellison and Mayor Chris Coleman. During the service, Rev. Steve Daniels Jr. told the crowd, “Once again we have the death of an innocent Black man whose life was taken at the hands of an officer due to his wide-set nose.”
Philando’s killing by a St. Anthony police officer came right after the unfortunate killing of Alton Sterling by the hands of Baton Rouge police. Castile’s service not only allowed his friends and family to mourn his untimely death, but it allowed the entire community to unify during a heightened state of racial tension.
(Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)