Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by a Kenosha police officer. In front of his children. All captured on video. He is alive, but will probably never walk again. I could say a lot, but I will not say anything today. Instead, I urge you, my friends and family: Listen to the voices of Jacob Blake’s family and of Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers.
Click on the links to listen, or read their words as I have transcribed them.
Jacob Blake’s older sister, Letetra Widman spoke at a press conference on Tuesday:
“And when you say the name Jacob Blake, make sure you say father. Make sure you say cousin. Make sure you say son. Make sure you say uncle. But most importantly, make sure you say human.
“Human life. Let it marinate in your mouth, in your mind. A human life. Just like every single one of y’all. We’re human and his life matters.
“So many people have reached out to me, telling me they’re sorry this happened to my family. Well, don’t be sorry, because this has been happening to my family for a long time. Longer than I can account for.
“It happened to Emmett Till. Emmet Till is my family. Philando. Mike Brown. Sandra. This has been happening to my family. And I’ve shed tears for every single one of these people that this has happened to. This is nothing new. I’m not sad. I’m not sorry.
“I’m angry. And I’m tired. I haven’t cried one time. I stopped crying years ago. I am numb.
“I have been watching police murder people that look like me for years.
“I’m also a black history minor. So not only have I been watching it in the 30 years that I have been on this planet. but I’ve been watching it for years before we were even alive.
“I’m not sad. I don’t want your pity. I want change.”
“Just watching the Republican convention, and they’re spewing this fear. All you hear is Donald Trump and all of them talking about fear.
“We’re the ones getting killed. We’re the ones getting shot. We’re the ones that were denied to live in certain communities. We been hung. We been shot.
“All you do is keep hearing about fear. It’s amazing why we keep loving this country and this country does not love us back. And it’s just really so sad.
“Like—I should just be a coach. And it’s so haunting to be reminded of my color. You know —i’s just really sad. We gotta do better. We gotta demand better.
“It’s funny. We protest and they send riot guards, right, they send people in riot outfits. They [white nationalists] go to Michigan with guns and they’re spitting on cops and nothing happens. The training has to change in the police force. The unions have to be taken down in the police force.
“My dad was a cop. I believe in good cops. We’re not trying to defund the police and take all their money away. We’re trying to get them to protect us just like they protect everybody else.
“I didn’t want to talk about it before the game because it’s so hard.
“Just keep watching it. If you watch that video, you don’t need to be black to be outraged. You don’t need to be an American to be outraged.
“And then the Republicans talk about fear—we’re the ones that need to be scared. We’re the ones having to talk to every black child. What white father has to give his son a talk about being careful if you get pulled over? It’s just ridiculous.
“And it just keeps going. There’s no charges. Breonna Taylor, there were no charges, nothing. All we’re asking is that you live up to the Constitution. That’s all we’re asking. For everybody. For everyone.
Julia Jackson, Jacob Blake’s mother, spoke at a press conference on Tuesday.
“My son has been fighting for his life and we really just need prayers.
“As I was riding through here, through this city, I noticed a lot of damage. It doesn’t reflect my son or my family. If Jacob knew what was going on as far as that goes, the violence and the destruction, he would be very unpleased. So I’m really asking and encouraging everyone in Wisconsin and abroad to take a moment and examine your hearts.
“Citizens, police officers, firemen, clergy, politicians, do Jacob justice on this level and examine your hearts.
“We need healing. As I pray for my son’s healing, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I also have been praying even before this for the healing of our country. God has placed each and every one of us in this country because he wanted us to be here.
“Clearly, you can see by now that I have beautiful brown skin. But take a look at your hand and whatever shade it is, it is beautiful as well.
“How dare we hate what we are? We are humans. God did not make one type of tree or flower or fish or horse or grass or rock. How dare you ask him to make one type of human that looks just like you? I’m not talking to just Caucasian people. I am talking to everyone, white, black, Chinese, Japanese, red brown. No one is superior to the other. the only supreme being is God himself.
“Please let’s begin to pray for healing for our nation. We are the United States. Have we been united? Do you understand what’s going to happen, because a house that is against each other cannot stand?
“To all of the police officers, I’m praying for you and your families
“To all of the citizens, my black and brown sisters and brothers I’m praying for you.
“I believe that you are an intelligent being just like the rest of us. Let’s use our hearts, our love, our intelligence to work together to show the rest of the world how humans are supposed to treat each other. America is great when we behave greatly.