Another person was shot dead at the hands of police Wednesday night, making Philando Castile's death the second high-profile case in which a black man was fatally shot by an officer just this week. As with the Alton Sterling shooting, the details of the event are still being investigated. Yet as the nationwide mourning begins, we cannot forget those who were personally and immediately affected by this tragedy — the victim's family. We must first concentrate our collective outrage and sadness into determining how to help Philando Castile's family navigate this senseless loss.
Castile's death was jarringly livestreamed through a Facebook Live video by his girlfriend Lavish Reynolds, who claims that the pair were merely pulled over for a broken taillight. But as Castile allegedly informed the officer that he had a concealed carry permit and began reaching for his wallet, police shot him multiple times in the arm. Reynolds filmed the aftermath, during which Castile can be heard moaning, clutching his bloodstained shirt, and ultimately slumping into the passenger seat. Throughout the footage, the officer continues to point his gun into the car, screaming expletives. Both Reynolds and her young daughter were taken from the car as the 32-year-old lost consciousness, later succumbing to his injuries at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Friends and family rushed to the hospital, but as The Huffington Post reports, were unable to see Castile before he died. As of Thursday morning, Castile's mother says she still has not been able to see her son and identify the body.
Helping the family through this loss is paramount, both personally and as a clear statement against the systemic forces that killed him. A GoFundMe has been set up for Castile's family, and has raised roughly $3,000 of the $20,000 goal so far. The page's organizer is writer and director Xavier Burgin, who currently works as a videographer for the University of Southern California's School of Engineering and heads the creative agency Que The Lights.
As an advocate against police violence, Burgin says on the page that he has committed to using his "platform to help in a tangible way." He has also stressed the desire to be transparent, and encourages people to reach out to him as he curates funds for the Castile family. Burgin will likewise be providing updates as the process continues.
This, of course, is just one way to help the family in their time of need. In a broader scope, there are a multitude of ways to combat the racial injustice that killed Castile. In order to defeat this far-reaching, societal problem, it must be attacked from all angles.