Philando Castile’s Legacy Of Helping His Students Pay For Lunch Lives On

Monique Judge, The Root

Philando Castile was known as a caring man at the St. Paul, Minn., school where he worked as a cafeteria supervisor. He cared so much for the children he served that he often paid for their lunches out of his own pocket when they were unable to, and now, thanks to a local college professor, that generosity will continue through a fund that has been created in Castile’s name.

(Facebook)

“No child goes hungry so we ensure that every student has breakfast and also lunch whether they can pay or not,” Stacy Koppen, Nutritional Services Director for St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS), told WCCO. “Lunches just for one elementary student are about $400 a year.”

Before Castile was killed last summer by former St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop, he was always ready to help the students who were in need, Koppen told WCCO.

“When a student couldn’t pay for their lunch, a lot of times (Castile) actually paid for their lunch out of his own pocket,” Koppen said.

Inver Hills Community College professor Pam Fergus wants Castile’s generosity and caring for the students to continue.

She told WCCO, “His death changed who I am.”

Fergus normally assigns a service project to the students in her Diversity and Ethics class, but this time she came up with one of her own: Philando Feeds The Children.

The money raised through the YouCaring.com fundraiser will be used to help clear lunch debts at J.J. Hill.

As of Thursday night, more than $7,000 had been raised, and Castile’s mother, Valerie, told WCCO and Fergus that she plans to match the full amount raised with her own donation.

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Read about the importance of reconciliation here.

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Why Black Women Are — And Should Be — Leading The Fight For $15

By Rontel Batie, HuffPost Black Voices

When Patricia Stephens led a group of black college students to sit and order foot at a “white only” Woolworth’s lunch counter in Tallahassee, Florida in 1960, they were told, “The South is not ready for that.”

When Fannie Lou Hamer led a group of black neighbors to the courthouse in Indianola, Mississippi in 1963 to register to vote, they were told, “Mississippi is not ready for that.”

When fast-food workers led primarily by black women walked off their jobs in 2012 to strike for $15 minimum wage and a union, they were told, “America is not ready for that.”

Time and again, women of color have changed the world through their resilience and fortitude to never settle for less than first-class citizenship, even if the forces against them said it’s not yet time for progress.

The time has come for a minimum wage that meets the basic needs of workers in the 21st century. Raising the minimum wage would boost pay in low-wage jobs where millions of men and women now spend their careers. Low-wage occupations in food service, home health care, retail, and customer service are projected to see the most job growth over the next decade.

The typical worker struggling on less than $15 an hour is a woman over 30 who works full-time but still cannot make ends meet. While only one-third of white workers earn less than $15 an hour, most women of color do.

A $15 minimum wage (or $31,200) a year for full time) could go far in helping women and people of color make ends meet, closing persistent gender- and race-based pay and wealth gaps, and improving educational and health outcomes for children. All labor has dignity, but when workers bring home paychecks that don’t pay for basic necessities, it’s hard to find the dignity in being working poor.

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Read more on the history of the struggle for justice here

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Malcom X Suggests Cure To Racism In Newly-Discovered Handwritten Letter

The letter is on sale for $1.25 million.

, The Huffington Post

A recently-discovered letter reportedly handwritten by Malcolm X in 1964 describes racism at that time as an “incurable cancer” that was “plaguing” America.

Los Angeles historic manuscript and letter dealer, Moments in Time, retrieved the six-page letter, reportedly written by the civil rights activist. It went on sale Sunday for $1.25 million.

A letter was recently discovered that is said to have been written by Malcolm X. (Photo credit: Gary Zimet)

The letter that was allegedly written by Malcolm X.  (Photo credit: Gary Zimet)

Gary Zimet, president and owner of Moments in Time, received the letter from a contact who discovered it in a storage locker in the Bronx, New York. Zimet has decided to keep the person’s name anonymous.

The letter details a monumental period in the late activist’s life — his 1964 pilgrimage to Mecca, the year prior to his assassination in 1965 in New York City…

Malcolm X describes his pilgrimage as “the most important event in the life of all Muslims,” and goes on to explain why his experience was so enlightening.

In regards to the legitimacy of this letter, Zaheer Ali, an oral historian who served as the project manager and senior researcher of the Malcolm X Project at Columbia University, says it’s likely this letter was actually written by Malcolm X.

“Based on everything I’ve seen, handwriting and context, I can confidently say that yes, this letter is his letter…The content is consistent, this isn’t uncommon. He was very prolific….”

Ali believes the letter’s message, addressing race and religion, is particularly timely today.

“However this letter surfaced, it surfaced at the right time.”

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This Day in Black History: Coretta Scott King is Born

From Who’s Who of American Women

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King was born on this date in 1927. She was an African-American civil rights activist and author.

From Heiberger, Alabama, Coretta Scott was the daughter of Bernice McMurry Scott, a housewife, and Obadiah Scott, a lumber carrier. Scott grew up walking three miles each day to school while school buses carrying white children drove by her. Such occurrences, while difficult, led her to strive for equality and the best for herself. Scott went on to graduate from high school and in 1945 entered Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio on a scholarship.

Majoring in Education and Music, Scott became alarmed when she was not able to teach in a public school because she was Black. At this time she became involved with Civil Right groups, joined the Antioch chapter of the NAACP, the college’s Race Relations Committee, and Civil Liberties Committees. In 1951, she accepted a scholarship to continue her musical training at the New England Conservatory in Boston before finishing her degree from Antioch College. Upon her arrival in Boston, she met her future husband, Martin Luther King Jr., a young minister who was studying for his Ph.D. at Boston University.

On June 18, 1953, Martin Luther King Sr. married his son, Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott. They returned to the South to work on the civil liberties of Black Americans. By 1964, King was the mother of four children: Yolanda, Martin Luther King III, Dexter Scott, and Bernice Albertine. She had also become active with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Although usually at her husband’s side, she made solo appearances at various civil rights functions that her husband could not attend. She also performed at benefit concerts by lecturing and even singing to the audience. On April 4, 1968, her husband was shot and killed while giving a speech on a hotel balcony.

Read more about Coretta Scott King here.