I Dreamed of Philando Castile

I dreamed of Philando Castile last night. Draped in white linen, he stood at a podium before a crowd. His feet planted in sand that was more abundant than waters of the ocean, and black as a night with no moon to illuminate its existence.

Although Philando's eyes held the pain of unspeakable truths; his face was that of pure solemnity. The silhouette of his open wounds were visible through his garment. His hair was that of braided rope that descended to the ground. Signs of wear and tear could be seen on his shoulders from the burdens of an unfavorable society.

He addressed the assembly of young men of staggering ages and various degrees of color. Many of them were familiar. Some wore no face at all. While others had faces covered by hoods of obscurity. As different though they were, the commonalities of the men could not be denied.

temp-post-imagePhotograph of girl standing calmly in front of police officers is Iesha Evans. Iesha Evans is reportedly a nurse and mother in New York. Photograph: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

The crowds eyes were piercing in the direction of the sound, as Philando’s voice rose and fell, with brief periods of silence. He spoke of how an innocent trip to the grocery store with his family had turned into a scene from a horror movie in a matter of minutes; ending in splattered blood, stolen lives, and cries that were unheard.

Philando clutched his chest. I could see his hand shaking from the distance. His voice cracked, and dropped to a whisper, as tears poured down burning holes in white garb.

He continued on about a child's innocence being shattered, as she looked on while one of the city's “gatekeepers” carelessly blasted bullets into her father faster than the mind could even process. The sound of the shots had ripped through the air, echoing across a nation.

Philando looked toward the heavens, “Thank God I caught those bullets and not my baby sitting behind me.” He continued, “If I could have covered her ears to keep her from hearing me take my last breathe right there in front of her, I would have done so; for knowing this scene would be the backdrop of her life. Forever.”

The crowd, now in multitudes, showed that of mixed emotions toward Philando's great tribulations. Some of them stood in silence, off to themselves. They had their heads bowed, praying for mercy. Others had looks of fear and confusion, as they looked around and behind them, and then at each other. Many of the young men were punching the air with their fist; chanting through clenched teeth, “No justice. No peace. No justice. No peace.”


"No Justice No Peace photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Independent Media Center"

Cries were rampant, and resonated throughout the audience. So many of them rushed to the podium, where Philando still stood, waiting to tell their stories. One by one, they told of haunting accounts of fear of the unknown, unrighteous pursuits, profiling, outcries and pleas, beatings, and massive blood shed; all of which had fallen deaf to tribunal ears.

I studied the crowd. I saw the likes of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, and so many others too numerous to name. I prayed for the young souls, and sobbed as much as I prayed. The suffering lingering in the atmosphere was far more palpable than the beat of my own heart.

I couldn’t take it any more. This couldn’t be nothing more than a bad dream. It was far too real…to be real. I felt myself tossing and turning in my sleep trying to wake up from this horrible nightmare. But to no avail…

temp-post-image"Justice for Trayvon" was taken by me, Jennifer Bradley.

I moved in closer to get a better observation of the youth hidden beneath the hoods; as they were the only ones who had not graced the crowd with their testimony. I needed to know why.

Each of them slowly unveiled their covering, and turned to look me in the face. My heart plunged and my eyes popped to their limit. I gasped at what was revealed right before me. I knew the men, and I actually knew them very well. They were MY sons and all the sons of my inherited bloodline.

I woke up pouring sweat. My pillow floating in my tears. Heart quivering at the realization that the line between my dreams and my reality had now become blurred.

What are your thoughts as a parent; a citizen; or as a member of law enforcement?