With the anniversary of his death approaching, and the trial of his killer ending with a less-than-ideal verdict, I have found myself thinking a lot about the murder of Philando Castile last July and the events that have followed. Moments after the verdict, his mother Valerie Castile, gave this statement:

Ms. Castile’s words about her son’s love for his city really struck a chord with me. How do you survive in a country that doesn’t love you back? Is there anything we can do to not be killed when we interact with law enforcement? Does the skin I inhabit make me a target regardless? Does being black in America mean I’ll always be waiting for the next tragedy?

Most days I feel so raw I can hardly stand it. At times it feels like I wear the names and stories of Philando and countless other unarmed black men and women like battle scars in the fight for freedom and equality. Other days I feel like the only way to persevere is to keep my head down and continue to do the work that our ancestors started. I’m not sure what type of day tomorrow will be but I do know I’ll be spending it thinking of Valerie and the countless other mothers as we continue to endure these tragedies.

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