Friends and family of Philando Castile, as well as many community members, gathered Saturday evening in Falcon Heights for a community barbecue to remember Castile on the second anniversary of his death and honor his legacy.
The event was held on Larpenteur Avenue, less than a mile west of where Castile was fatally shot on July 6, 2016 by Jeronimo Yanez, then a St. Anthony police officer.
The event was decidedly more upbeat than one the night before on the corner near the northern entrance to the State Fairgrounds where Castile died. A quiet candlelight vigil was held there Friday night.
The Falcon Heights City Council this spring named July 6 as “Restoration Day” and July 7 as “Unity Day” in the city. The plan is for those two days to become a living memorial for Castile, said Melanie Leehy, the City Council member who proposed the idea.
“The city needed to officially acknowledge the tragedy,” Leehy said. “It will take more than a verbal acknowledgment, of course. But we needed to acknowledge it.”
As it did last year, the city provided the space for Saturday’s barbecue. The food, music, speakers and other events were organized and paid for by volunteers helping Castile’s family, and by a nonprofit foundation that was formed in his honor.