The death of police brutality victim Philando Castile has affected a nation, but those who knew him personally have been enduring the greatest heartache.
Castile was adored by many, and touched the lives of the hundreds of children he came in contact with at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School, where he worked as a cafeteria supervisor. While working at the school, Castile knew every single one of the 500 children by name, and made sure that all of their dietary needs were looked after. According to Joan Edman, a retired paraprofessional at the school, Castile looked after those children like they were his own:
“He remembered their names. He remembered who couldn’t have milk. He knew what they could have to eat and what they couldn’t. This was a real guy. He made a real contribution. Yes, black lives matter. But this man mattered.”
That’s why this note, which was left by a child in front of the school this week, is particularly heartbreaking. Posted by local news station KARE11, the note shows just what an impact Castile had made in the community and its youngest members. The note, which was decorated with a rainbow, reads:
“This year I was going to give you a gift but then you dided but I’m giving you a gift anyway. You had the biggest heart ever. I rilly miss you. I rilly rilly miss you. Your the best lunch man we could ever have. I wish you were alive. You have rainbows in your heart.”
Castile’s life ended abruptly on Wednesday, when he was killed by a cop during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, was in the car with him (along with her 4-year-old) and live streamed the tragedy on Facebook. The entire community has been rocked by this injustice, and are clearly in deep mourning over the loss of such an amazing individual that should still be alive today.
Since the child’s note was posted, many people are speaking out in remembrance of Castile’s legacy at the school. One parent said, “My son and his friend JJ Hill students hand in hand marched together for peace and to remember Philando. He was a great man, he knew each children by name. My youngest son who is on the back, phill knew he loved those fish gram crackers and he always gave him one. He will be greatly missed!!!”
Another woman wrote:
“This is going to affect every child that knew him in school! Children should not have to write a goodbye note to someone they know who was shot and killed! So heartbreaking!”
This note represents another precious life lost to racism in America. The loss of Castile will be felt by many, and it’s obvious that no one will be able to replace him in the hearts of J.J. Hill’s youth.
Featured image via KARE/Facebook