Rev. Jesse Jackson, Blake family urge groups in Kenosha to engage in positive community service
KENOSHA, Wis. - In Kenosha, 40th Street and 28th Avenue mark an intersection that now invokes pain and trauma for many who witnessed the shooting of Jacob Blake.
On Tuesday, Sept. 1 -- more than one week after Blake was shot by a Kenosha police officer -- a pivotal step was taken toward healing and rebuilding a hurting community.
Blake's uncle, Justin Blake, felt mixed emotions on Tuesday -- standing at the very intersection where his nephew was shot seven times in the back.
"I'd like to be at home with my nephew and his kids playing and doing other things, but we don't have that opportunity today," Justin Blake said.
First, pain -- as Jacob Blake lies partially paralyzed in the hospital. But second, and on true display Tuesday -- hope that the shooting can inspire change in the community.
"We're no longer going to tolerate this. As a community, we're gonna work together. We're gonna put to the side our differences. We're gonna agree to disagree, and we're gonna rebuild our community," said Justin Blake.
Justin Blake, uncle of Jacob Blake
Civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson was at the Blake family's side on Tuesday.
"It's a pattern of killing, and we deserve equal protection under the law. We're not getting it," Rev. Jackson said.
The Justice for Jacob coalition organized the event which served as a celebration and call for community rebuilding. It featured bounce-houses for children, free food, a voter registration booth and more. It was a welcome change for neighbors, like Demetrius Jordan.
"It's actually a good thing, cause it actually shows we can come together and be a people, and not separated from our skin color," Jordan said.
Though his Exclusive Cuts barbershop was damaged and looted amid unrest last week, James Curtis said that offering free haircuts on Tuesday was a chance for him to give back to those hurting in the community.
"It's about unity and solidarity. We have to stick together, you know what I'm saying?" said Curtis. "No matter who it is that's coming or what the battle is for."
Justin Blake did offer a small update on his nephew's health. He said Jacob Blake is starting to show some personality again at the hospital before renewing his call for more prayers.
The event happened the same day as President Donald Trump visited the city. Rev. Jackson urged the community not to protest President Trump's visit but to engage in positive community service.
“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. “We need justice and relief for our community.”
“Members of our community of all races and backgrounds have come together in an extraordinary show of resilience and compassion, and that is what we will continue to do on Tuesday,” said Tanya Mclean, a Kenosha resident and friend of Jacob Blake’s family who helped organize the event.
The family has also joined State Sen. Lena Taylor, and other elected officials during the event