It’s been two years since Philando Castile lost his life at the hands of a police officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota and the city is honoring his legacy in a major way. In commemoration of Castile’s death, the city declared July 6 as “Restoration Day” and will recognize July 7 as “Unity Day,” KSTP reported.
Having Castile honored with the two days was an effort led by Falcon Heights City Council member Melanie Leehy, the news outlet writes. Leehy hopes that Restoration Day will inspire city residents to reconnect with each other and restore relationships within the community. “You can’t talk about restoration unless you look back. Restore contact with your neighbor or a family member or a friend. Do something restorative,” she told the news outlet. Unity Day was designed to bring the community together through a variety of different events throughout the city.
The city described the two-day proclamation as a “component of healing” and hopes that it improves the “quality community engagement.” Castile’s family is humbled that the city would honor him in such a way and believes that the commemoration will be an integral part of preserving his legacy. “That means the world to me,” Philando’s mother Valerie Castile 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.”
Philando Castile lost his life on July 6, 2016, when he was fatally shot by officer Jeronimo Yanez. Yanez, who claims that he shot Castile because he thought he was reaching for a gun, was removed from the police force but was acquitted of all charges. In June 2017, Castile’s family reached a $3 million settlement with the city of St. Anthony.
Since his death, there have been a few initiatives created in his honor. Last year there was a fundraising campaign that raised over $70,000 to eliminate the lunch debt in the school district that he worked in.