Valerie Castile Fights for Justice in Her Son Philando’s Name
His death has led to modifying Minnesota driver’s manual section on gun carry/police stops
Valerie Castile has spent the past four years making sure her son Philando’s name is never forgotten. She wants to replace the video seared into our brains from July 6, 2016, when the Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop. Hours later, the beloved school nutrition supervisor from St. Paul, Minnesota joined the long list of Black people killed by police in the United States. Yanez was subsequently found not guilty in a 2017 second-degree manslaughter trial. Despite that verdict, the city of St. Anthony paid a $2.995 million settlement to the Castile family.
As Black Lives Matter protests explode all over the country, prompted afresh by the police killing of George Floyd just a city over in Minneapolis, Philando’s name stays in the national conversation. His mother has been working nonstop to do good work in her son’s name. She founded the Philando Castile Relief Foundation, a nonprofit that clears lunch debt for Twin Cities students and provides financial assistance and resources to families who have lost loved ones to gun violence. The agency also provides grief counseling and funerary assistance.
Philando didn’t talk much on this plane of existence, but he’s making a lot of noise now.
MOMENTUM spoke with Valerie Castile about plans to further her activism and philanthropic work. Wayne Carter from the Alliance for Safe Traffic Stops joined her to provide insight and thoughts on how real change can be achieved.
MOMENTUM: How do you feel about the Black Lives Matter uprisings that keep your son’s name — and others — front and center?
Valerie Castile: That was something that was bound to happen. It was no surprise to me. The governor called and asked me what did I think the public was going to do and I said, “They gone fuck some shit up.” Excuse my French. We here in Minnesota and across the country have been suppressing all the emotions because time after time, your visual is seeing some Black person unarmed or in mental distress, being…