Today we grieve with the family and friends of Philando Castile.

Today we grieve with the family and friends of Philando Castile. We stand with all families who have lost loved ones at the hands of local law enforcement. The palpable anxiety, frustration, anger, and agitation in our community right now is at an all-time high…and the tension and gravity of the situation is very real.

This is the 2nd death of a black man in our community at the hands of the police in a year, and more than 130 black men have been killed by police in our country this year. We are all mourning the lives of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the two most recent victims. These men did not deserve to die.

We need to hear their individual stories, but these incidents will not stop until we address systemic problems within the law-enforcement system which continue to isolate people of color. The increasing criminalization and police violence targeting people of color across the country and right here at home is unacceptable.

People of all races need to understand this affects them. It’s everyone’s problem. When we devalue and disrespect certain lives, we all suffer. Allowing these horrendous acts to continue means enabling and perpetuating even more systemic issues - mass incarcerations, deportations, anti-citizenship laws, anti-Islamic attacks, and many other crimes driven by fear of the ‘other’. 

It is our hope that we will come together to dismantle systemic racism, to ensure we have a transparent and accountable police department, and a trustworthy justice system which is accountable to each and every community member, regardless of race, gender, religion or economic status.  

We stand in solidarity with those who are mourning.

We support the people organizing to make change.

We will continue to listen.

We will continue to embrace the complexities within our community.

We will continue to advocate for our community, offer support for the families, and remain vigilant in our pride for the community.

And we will work toward a more peaceful and equitable world.