Things That Matter

The Parents Of The Student Who Died In The Colorado Shooting Are Not Surprised He Would Sacrifice Himself For His Classmates

Kendrick Castillo sacrificed his life for his classmates.

Castillo’s parents were on CNN this week and spoke about how they raised their son to be the kind of person to help people. They are devastated that they will never see their son again but are not surprised that he would sacrifice his life to save his classmates.

Five months into the year and our country have endured 18,255 incidences of gun violence, 115 mass shootings, and 4,804 deaths — and each one of them matters. The latest shooting to make national headlines happened yesterday at STEM School Highlands Ranch just outside of Denver. Eight people were injured in the shooting and one died. His name is Kendrick Castillo and people are saying that he died a hero.

Kendrick Castillo, an 18-year-old student, was shot and killed yesterday at his school. Eight others were injured.

Twitter/@shaunking

The school shooting occurred at the STEM School Highlands Ranch in Denver, Colorado — just a few miles from Columbine High School. According to media reports, there were two shooters and they are suspected to be students as well.

“Two individuals walked into the STEM school, got deep inside the school and engaged students in two separate locations,” Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said, according to NBC News.

Castillo died trying to stop the shooter and save the lives of his classmates.

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His father, John Castillo, confirmed to NBC News that his son died in the shooting. Castillo and another student charged at one the shooters which blocked the shooter from aiming at other students.

“He was the best kid in the world,” John said to The Denver Post this morning. “It doesn’t surprise me. He cared enough about people that he would do something like that, even though it’s against my better judgment.”

John added, “I wish he had gone and hid, but that’s not his character. His character is about protecting people, helping people.”

“The next thing I know is [the shooter] is pulling a gun and he’s telling nobody to move, and that’s when Kendrick lunged at him,” classmate Nui Giasolli said on the “Today” show. “And he shot Kendrick, giving all of us enough time to get underneath our desks, to get ourselves safe, and to run across the room to escape.”

People on social media are remembering how incredibly caring Castillo was and also bringing attention to ending gun violence.

Castillo was supposed to graduate later this week. He was an intern at Bacara USA, a manufacturing company. According to Rachel Short, the CEO of the company, Castillo was so impressive in his internship that he was offered a part-time job.

“To find he went down as a hero, I’m not surprised,” Short told USA Today. “That’s exactly who Kendrick was.”

There has been an outpouring of support and grief over the news of Castillo’s tragic death.

Credit: @AMarch4OurLives / Twitter

“I don’t want to give the shooters the satisfaction of being afraid of someplace that was my second home for four years,” Giasolli told NBC News. “I want to show them that even though they did this terrible, terrible thing, that we can all come together and we can all make it a happy place again because that’s what really matters.”

Castillo was part of the robotics team during the four years of high school.

People across the country are grieving the senseless violence asking why this has to be the norm.

Credit: @kwell / Twitter

There is a public health crisis in the U.S. tied to the proliferation of guns. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), the only option is “a comprehensive public health response and solution.”

“With approximately 30,000 men, women and children dying each year at the barrel of a gun in elementary schools, movie theaters, workplaces, houses of worship and on live television, the United States faces a public health crisis of gun violence,” AMA President Steven J. Stack, M.D, said in a statement about the gun crisis. “Even as America faces a crisis unrivaled in any other developed country, the Congress prohibits the CDC from conducting the very research that would help us understand the problems associated with gun violence and determine how to reduce the high rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries. An epidemiological analysis of gun violence is vital so physicians and other health providers, law enforcement, and society at large may be able to prevent injury, death and other harms to society resulting from firearms.”

Mainly, people are sick and tired of children having to sacrifice their own lives to save their peers.

Credit: @kristaanne0 / Twitter

The two suspects (a male and female) have been apprehended by authorities. The male is 18-year-old Devon Erickson and the female is an unnamed juvenile.

READ: From School Shootings To Change: Here’s What’s Happened Since The Tragic Shooting In Parkland, Florida

Shooting Death Of Ahmaud Arbery Is Another Example Of White Privilege In America

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Shooting Death Of Ahmaud Arbery Is Another Example Of White Privilege In America

Ahmaud Arbery / Facebook

The rallying cry “Black Lives Matter” is once again front and center – on the tips of all of our tongues – after yet another shooting death of an unarmed black man. This time the victim is 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery of Georgia who was shot and killed by two white men who allegedly thought he was responsible for a string of burglaries in their largely white neighborhood.

Recent video footage has cast serious doubt on their story and is sparking outrage across the country as more and more people call for an investigation. Keep in mind: the two men who shot and killed Ahmaud haven’t been charged with any crime, let alone arrested.

A man called 911 to report ‘black male running’ prior to the shooting.

Credit: @BLMAtlanta / Twitter

In Georgia, the parents of a black man killed by two white men armed with a revolver and a shotgun called for immediate arrests yesterday as they faced the prospect of waiting a month or longer before a grand jury considers charges.

Their son, Ahmaud Arbery, had gone for a jog in Satilla Shores, near the Georgia coast. The 25-year-old was known around the neighborhood, and would sometimes wave to residents as he ran. But that day, a series of events unfolded that ended in his killing at the hands of Gregory McMichael, and his son, Travis McMichael.

Lawyers for Arbery’s family have said his death was a “lynching” and requested it be investigated as a hate crime

A recently released graphic video shows moments of incident but leaves out several important details.

Credit: AP News / YouTube

Video footage captured by an unidentified witness in a vehicle being driven behind Arbery shows him as he jogs along a two-lane road. Ahead, a white pickup truck is parked, with one man standing in the truck bed and another standing by the driver’s side.

Arbery is seen running toward the truck’s right side and he then veers in and out of the camera’s frame. A gunshot rings out. Arbery is then seen entering into a struggle with one man, who appears to hold a long gun. Another shot then rings out; Arbery was shot at least twice before he fell to the pavement.

The shooters – who are identified in a police report as ‘witnesses’ – say they thought Arbery was responsible for a string of burglaries.

An incident report identifies Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, as the two men who pursued Arbery.

Gregory McMichael said he saw Arbery run by his front yard and alerted his son, according to the police report — he says they thought he resembled a suspect behind recent break-ins in the neighborhood. Both men then grabbed weapons and attempted to follow Arbery in their pickup truck. After a chase, the men pulled up beside Arbery and shouted at him to stop, McMichael claimed, and Travis McMichael got out of the vehicle with a shotgun. Gregory McMichael alleged that Arbery then attacked Travis and that the men began fighting over the weapon before any shots were fired— an assertion which appears to contradict the footage appearing to show Arbery only began grappling with a man after the first shot.

The shooting took place in late February – what is going on with the investigation?

Credit: @BLMAtlanta / Twitter

Arbery was ambushed and shot dead by two men despite not being guilty for any crime. Yet more than two months after his death, no one has been arrested or charged for the crime of gunning down an innocent man.

The handling of the case has been marred with conflicts of interest, since one of the men involved is a former investigator for the District Attorney’s office and a former police officer. Several law enforcement officials have had to recuse themselves from the case because of their connections to the McMichael family.

Lee Merrit, an attorney for Abery’s family, said “The Glynn County Police Department has the authority and legal imperative to make an arrest today, pending the presentation of this case to a grand jury. These men must be taken into custody pending their indictment.”

Durden, District Attorney of Georgia’s Atlantic Judicial Court, has said a Glynn County grand jury should make the decision on whether criminal charges should be brought in the case. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, grand juries are prohibited from meeting through June 12.

As the outrage grows over this man’s death, a growing number of major voices are calling for justice.

Former United States Vice-President Joe Biden has joined politicians calling for a just and transparent investigation into the fatal shooting of unarmed Arbery.

In a tweet on Wednesday, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Biden called for “a swift, full, and transparent investigation” into Arbery’s murder.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, another former candidate for Democratic nomination, also said the video was “sickening”.

“The fact that no action has been taken after two months is unacceptable. Ahmaud’s friends and family deserve accountability and justice,” she tweeted.

Ilhan Omar, a Democratic member of the House, tweeted on Wednesday: “Arbery was lynched. Killed in cold blood simply for being a Black man in America. Far too often, our criminal justice system fails us. We can’t let that happen this time.”

Colorado Organization Raises Money To Offer Relief Checks To Undocumented People In The State

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Colorado Organization Raises Money To Offer Relief Checks To Undocumented People In The State

Carlos Ebert / Flickr / Unsplash

Undocumented people are being left out of relief funds provided by the U.S. government. A lack of a Social Security number is why so many people have been denied relief assistance as the country grapples with an evergrowing number of COVID-19 cases. Organizations and states are stepping up to bridge that gap and give undocumented people a chance to make it through this crisis.

The Village Exchange Center in northern Aurora, Colorado is raising money to help undocumented families in Colorado.

The U.S. Congress passed an initial relief package of $2.2 trillion that came with $1,200 checks for all eligible Americans. One community left out is the undocumented community because they do not have Social Security numbers. This leaves millions of peoples without any financial safety net exacerbating the problems imposed by this pandemic.

The Village Exchange Center has sent 250 undocumented residents $1,000 checks.

According to Sentinel, the Village Exchange Center teamed received funds from the Denver Foundation, the Rose Community Foundation in Glendale, a third anonymous donor, and 30 individual donors. The $250,000 was already dispatched to the recipients chosen by the Village Exchange Center through money transfers or checks, depending on whether or not the recipient had a bank account.

This was the Village Exchange Center’s first round of COVID-19 relief payments to Colorado’s undocumented community.

The organization chose those who would receive the payments based on those who were laid off from jobs at restaurants, hotels, and other service industry jobs.

“They have no access to unemployment, they will not be getting a stimulus check or any other form of assistance, even though most of them pay taxes,” Mark Newhouse, a trustee at the Denver Foundation, told Sentinel. which helped build the fund. “And so, we quickly raised a quarter of a million dollars to run a pilot across the state.”

The organization is basing its work on the actions of California.

On April 15, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a state fund created to offer undocumented people relief funds. Gov. Newsom allocated $75 million in taxpayer money to give to undocumented people living in California. There are an estimated 2.2 million undocumented immigrants who live in California. Undocumented people contribute more than $10 billion in taxes to the federal government when they file each year. Gov. Newsom’s administration has been sending undocumented people $500 checks to help ease their COVID-19 economic impact.

“We feel a deep sense of gratitude for people that are in fear of deportations that are still addressing essential needs of tens of millions of Californians,” Gov. Newsom said according to The Associated Press. The governor continued by acknowledging that 10 percent of California’s workforce is undocumented. Gov. Newsom also highlighted that undocumented workers in California paid $2.5 billion in local and state taxes last year.

The Village Exchange Center is currently raising more money to offer to more undocumented people living in Colorado.

The first round of money was already distributed but the application for the next round of money will be available when the funds are secured. According to Sentinel, there were 180,000 undocumented people who lived in Colorado. The Village Exchange Center’s goal is to raise enough money to give each undocumented people in Colorado a $1,000 check to ease the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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