On August 23rd, a Black man by the name of Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin as he attempted to enter the driver’s side of his SUV. The shooting was recorded on video and began circulating on social media, leading to protests overnight. Blake’s three young sons watched their father get shot from inside of the vehicle.
The officers were called to the scene in response to calls of a domestic incident. Blake was allegedly trying to deescalate the fight, but was not directly involved. As he attempted to walk away, police shot him seven times in his back.
It’s an all too familiar story; just a few months ago, the world responded to the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd at the hands of police officers in the form of various protests and demonstrations calling for justice. Unlike Taylor and Floyd, Blake underwent surgery and is now in stable condition. According to close family friends, he expected to make a recovery, but that cannot be the threshold for what we expect in interactions between police officers and Black people. Though many details surrounding the story are still unknown one thing is certain: the violence at the hands of law enforcement against unarmed Black citizens must end.
At times like this, it can be hard to figure out where we should be focusing our energy and attention. The coronavirus pandemic is still very much a threat in the United States, so perhaps grabbing a sign and marching isn’t something you can do at the moment. That is okay, because there is still plenty of other work to be done. Here’s where you can get started.
1. Make some phone calls
Call the local officials to demand that the police officers involved be held accountable. Being placed on leave is not a long-term solution. The following officials need to hear from us:
- Kenosha City Attorney’s Office: 262-653-4170
- Kenosha Mayor and City Administration Office: 262-653-4000
- Kenosha Police Non-Emergency Line: 262-656-1234
- Wisconsin Department of Justice Office: 608-266-1221
If you’re unsure of what to say, you can keep it concise. Below is an example:
My name is __________ and I am calling on behalf of Jacob Blake, and demand that the officers involved be held accountable, charged and that the Kenosha PD pay for Mr. Blake’s medical bills.
2. Make a donation
The protestors bravely putting their lives on the line need our support, and donating to the Milwaukee Freedom Fund is a great way to provide that. You can make a donation here.
3. Sign the petition
If donating isn’t something you can do right now, don’t worry! In addition to phone calls, signing petitions is a great way to make an impact. You can find the official petition to charge the officers involved here. Remember to share after you’ve signed!
4. Continue to educate yourself
Fighting racism doesn’t stop with petitions, donations and phone calls. It is a lifelong endeavor that requires dedication to doing the work. If you’re a non-Black ally, that includes educating yourself. Unsure of where to start? Head over to antiracismdaily.com for more information.
We will continue to update this post with resources and information on ways you can help as the story develops.