(KMSP) - Under the Sunday afternoon sunshine, outside the Dunning Rec Center and next to Philando Castile’s high school alma mater, St. Paul Central High School, the very people he dedicated his life to serving continued to build his legacy.
“Philando Castile was a member of our community. My children saw him at lunch time in the school where he went to Pre-K at, so it’s not a surprise at all, especially given the intensity of that trauma for this community,” said St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.
Live performances, raffle prizes, food and a bouncy house attracted hundreds to the second annual Central Honors Philando event Sunday. But the biggest draw reaches to the future by raising scholarship funds for the students.
Organizer Adrian Perryman said the group has given away two $5,000 scholarships over the last two years since 2016.
“He took care of our children, so to be raising money for scholarships and send our young people to college, it’s a good celebration for our neighborhood,” Mayor Carter said.
“It’s a blessing to be able to help all these people and a curse not to have him here,” said Philando’s uncle Tracy Castile. “Philando was a very good person at heart, in spirit, and it resonates through our whole family to be able to go through this, keep our heads up, smile and be willing to give.”
The family's dedication to community is the epitome of resilience after the sudden and controversial loss two years ago during a traffic stop when Castile was fatally shot by St. Anthony police officer Jeromino Yanez. Yanez was later acquitted by a jury.
Yet despite the pain, those who knew and love Philando dance with neighbors in the sun.
“Of all things, I’m sure he’d want to be able to be dancing in the park with us today,” Mayor Carter nodded.
“He will never be forgotten; he will be remembered for a long time long time… history books,” Tracy Castile said.
Central Honors Philando organizers tell FOX 9 they’d like to get more scholarships in the hands of graduating seniors. If you’re interested in supporting the cause, click here.