Children are a gift from God, a small, innocent replica of ourselves. Our job as parents is to love, nurture, protect, and teach, to bring forth the great qualities of their inner selves. God gave me a beautiful baby boy, who we called Philando. God entrusted me to be the teacher and lover of him, to mold him in His image, and teach him the right way to go. Philando became a handsome, respectful, honorable, caring man who found his calling by way of caring for our babies and lending a helping hand. Philando lived a modest, loving life—quiet yet humble.
His life was cut short in a hail of bullets by a peace officer.
Why? Why did a wonderful, loving, caring, generous, kindhearted, beloved man have to die at the young age of thirty-two? Why?
He did nothing wrong. A minor traffic stop gone horribly wrong. A Black man and his family coming from the store. He respected your authority, called you “Sir” as you exchanged words while you stood at the door. You asked for his identification; he’s done this forty-eight times before.
He tells you he has a weapon in the car in a normal tone. You start to yell at him as you draw your gun. He’s confused. You’re not listening, and they’re saying he’s not reaching. You begin to fire in the car with no regard to human life. The four-year-old child in the back seat screams from fright. His small-frame body catches five of the seven bullets that are emptied from your gun. As the smoke clears, the rich blood drains from his body. He takes his last breath and says, “I wasn’t reaching.”
A glorious light appeared, and it was the Savior. He asked the Lord, “Why?” My Lord said, “Your job is done.” Our Heavenly Father stuck out His hand and said, “It’s time to go home, Son.”
We have to have love, hope, and faith that humanity will survive these evil fates.

© Demont Pinder

Valerie Castile ’s beloved son, Philando Castile, was murdered by a police officer in July 2016 in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. She has dedicated herself to helping families who have lost a loved one from gun violence by developing the Philando Castile Relief Foundation in honor of her son.

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Demont Peekaso Pinder is an art historian who documents history in a vibrant way. Originally from Queens, New York, Demont discovered his artistic talent in the sixth grade drawing on his friends’ Trapper Keepers. Using his self-taught gift of painting, Demont has blessed the lives of many, celebrity and around-the-way folk alike.