Ignored by Trump on Kenosha Trip, Jacob Blake’s Family Hosts Day of Peace

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Sep 01, 2020

The family of Jacob Blake is following up on Saturday’s (August 29) #JusticeForJacob march and rally with a community gathering and press conference at the site of Blake’s shooting today (September 1), Colorlines learned, via an emailed press release and news reports.  NBC’s Chicago5.

The event—which aims to support and celebrate the Kenosha, Wisconsin, community, will include a community clean-up, food drive, healing circle and voter registration booth—will also reportedly coincide with a visit to Kenosha by Donald Trump, several media outlets, such as CNN, report. Trump is scheduled to arrive in the city around the same time that Blake’s family will hold their press conference, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, even after Wisconsin’s Governor Tony Evers (D-Wis.) and Kenosha’s Mayor John Antaramian (D-Wis.) asked him not to, with Antaramian telling CNN, “at this time, it’s just the wrong time."

What’s more, CNN reported on August 31 that Trump said during a press conference that he would not meet with the Blake family because “they wanted to have lawyers involved and I thought that was inappropriate, so I didn’t do that.” The Blake family disagreed.

“We don’t need more pain and division from a President set on advancing his campaign at the expense of our city,” said Justin Blake, uncle of Jacob Blake, in an emailed statement. “We need justice and relief for our vibrant community.” 

Kenosha resident Tanya Mclean, who is also a friend of the Blake family, said in the statement, “Our community is coming together across racial differences in an extraordinary show of resilience and compassion, and that is what we will continue to do on Tuesday.” 

The fact that thousands continue to protest following Blake’s near-fatal shooting by police in front of his three small children, that has since left him paralyzed from the waist down, is evidence that the city’s Black residents have been under fire for too long. 

"What does it say that 2,000 people could come together that quickly and remain committed after not one but two of us were shot and killed?" Kenosha resident Jesse Franklin asked NBC News, referring to the two protestors in Kenosha who were killed on August 24, allegedly by 17-year-old Trump supporter Kyle Rittenhouse. "What does it tell you about policing in this city? It tells you that people know that far too many officers operate more like a cartel than someone sworn to serve and protect the community and everyone in the community they patrol. What happened to Jacob Blake was that, in its extreme form."

Residents are also upset that the police department is being tight-lipped around Blake’s case, including the reason for why he was shackled to his bed though paralyzed, whether they thought Blake had a knife on him when he was shot down, the circumstances around the knife that was found in his SUV and details on the 911 call, NBC News reported. 

As for Rittenhouse, police chief Daniel Miskinis reportedly said that police made no attempt to arrest Rittenhouse after the shooting, even as witnesses were yelling that he’d just done so, and that “the protesters would not have been killed if they had not been outside after curfew,” NBC News reported.

To watch the Blake family’s press conference from today, see the livestream video below, courtesy of USA Today: