After a week full of anguish, despair and frustration for the black community, the topic of police brutality and how it disproportionately affects African-Americans has once again hit mainstream media. In the span of a week, both Philando Castile’s and Alton Sterling’s lives came to an end at the hands of police officers. During a traffic stop for a supposed broken taillight, St. Anthony officer Jeronimo Yanez shot Castile, known as Phil to his friends and to students at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School. Phil reportedly let the officer know he had a gun – which he had a permit for – in hopes of avoiding an altercation, according to the Washington Post. His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, recorded the interaction, because as she told ABC’s Good Morning America, “I knew they wouldn’t see me as being the person telling the truth. I knew by recording, I would be able to have my side brought to the table.”
As Castile’s loved ones, Minneapolis, and the black community continue to reel, there’s been an outpouring of support. On Saturday, Black Lives Matter St. Paul and the Minneapolis NAACP held the Rally & Solidarity March for #PhilandoCastile & Others. Starting at Minneapolis’ Loring Park, about 200 to 300 people showed up. CBS Minnesota notes that people wore red to symbolize all the blood lost in police-involved shootings. The march continued through the city, with protesters marching down Hennepin Avenue and staging two die-ins before heading to Gov. Mark Dayton’s St. Paul home. They eventually headed to I-94 and shut down the freeway, according to MPR News.
At a time when racist policing has taken center stage, solidarity with the black community, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement, is vital. Over the weekend, this is exactly what happened in Minneapolis, and dancers from the Kalpulli Yaocenoxtli group were right along them every step of the way – behavior that’s not uncommon for these dancers. In California, for example, danzantes have come out to support gay rights and partnered with the Korean Immigrant Worker Assn. They’ve also denounced police brutality and Christopher Columbus. Danza Mexica Cuahtemoc leader Judith Cuahtemoc told the Los Angeles Times that Aztecs side with underdogs. And that’s exactly what the Minnesota group did this weekend. Check out powerful images and videos below: