Unity, Restoration Days honor Philando Castile two years after police shooting

Friday, July 6 marks two years since the deadly police shooting of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. The city is taking action to mark the date, adopting a resolution proclaiming July 6 as Restoration Day and July 7 as Unity Day. 

According to the city, “the proclamation will become a component of healing, grant respect to Philando Castile’s family, while at the same time serve to improve the quality community engagement within the city by its residents, businesses, and guests..”

“That means the world to me,” Valerie Castile, Philando’s mother, told Fox 9. “So important that we keep his legacy alive, his spirit alive. With those two days of commemoration. I really applaud Falcon Heights, honoring him those two days.”

Restoration Day is about taking personal action and steps to build or restore relationships. Suggestions include meeting a neighbor, repairing a strained friendship or relationship or starting a conversation with someone you may not naturally interact with.

Unity Day is about demonstrating the healing process and community connection. Suggestions include block parties or citywide gatherings.

Philando Castile’s legacy has continued with a crowdfunding campaign called Philando Feeds the Children. The goal was to raise $5,000 to wipe out lunch debt for students at JJ Hill Montessori, where Castile worked as a nutrition supervisor and often paid for students who didn't have enough lunch money out of his own pocket. 

"Philando was famous for that,” said Metro State Professor Pam Fergus. “His mother told me that every day he would call her after leaving his job at JJ Hill and talk about the kids. Another kid didn't have the money in his account, so Philando would take $3 out of his pocket and buy that kid’s lunch for the day."
Since it started in September 2017, Philando Feeds the Children has raised over $150,000.

On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was shot and killed during a traffic stop by Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who claimed he thought Castile was reaching for a gun. Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter charges but was removed from the police force.

The shooting made national headlines after Castile's girlfriend live-streamed some of what happened on Facebook.

2nd Annual Commemoration Vigil for Philando Castile
8:15 p.m.
Philando Castile Peace Garden on Larpenteur Avenue

2nd Annual Commemoration of Philando Castile BBQ
5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
2077 Larpenteur Ave W, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 55113