By now, you’ve probably heard of Jacob Blake, but you may not know all the details — and what exactly you can do to demand justice.
Blake, a Black 29-year-old man, was tasered and then shot at least seven times at close range in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday evening after he tried to get into an SUV. Blake is currently paralyzed with a severed spinal cord, shattered vertebrae, holes in his stomach, and nearly all of his colon and small intestine have been removed, his attorneys said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Blake was in surgery at the time.
“They shot my son seven times. Seven times. Like he didn’t matter. But my son matters. He’s a human being, and he matters,” his father, Jacob Blake Sr. said at the press conference. His mother, Julia Jackson, said he was fighting for his life.
If you’re tired of yet another shooting of a Black person by police and you want to do something, you’re not alone. Below are ways you can help Blake and propel justice forward. But first, here are some more details from the shooting.
The Kenosha police department said officers were responding to a domestic violence incident — but Blake’s attorney said he was trying to “deescalate” the situation. Officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave, MSNBC reported.
Three of Blake’s children were in the car when their father was shot. Details are sketchy as to what led to the violent confrontation, though a witness named Raysean White who filmed Blake’s shooting, said he saw six or seven women yelling at one another on the sidewalk before the shooting, the Milwaukee Independent reported. White said Blake did not talk to the women and told one of his sons to get into the car. A new video released on Tuesday, filmed before the shooting from a nearby yard, appears to show Blake on the ground next to the passenger side of the car before he gets up to walk over to the driver’s side. It appears Blake was unarmed.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice is launching an investigation into the shooting with the help of the Wisconsin State Patrol and the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office.
Jacob Blake is paralyzed from the waist down.
The United States of America continues to dehumanize Black lives.
Racism & the multi-faceted trauma of slavery didn’t evaporate with a proclamation.
“America is not a racist country” is an impediment to Truth, Love and Justice.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) August 25, 2020
If you want to do something while the investigation unfolds, there are opportunities to help.
1) Donate to Blake’s GoFundMe
Blake’s family set up a GoFundMe to pay for his medical bills, legal expenses (renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump is representing Blake), support for his children, and other costs. As of Tuesday afternoon, more than $1 million of the fund’s $2 million goal (which continues to climb from its initial $250,000 goal) has been raised.
Blake’s shooting comes three months after George Floyd’s killing by police officer Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Like in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, people have taken to the streets to protest Blake’s shooting. Monday night marked the second night of demonstrations where protesters set buildings and trucks on fire in Kenosha, the Kenosha News reported. While the protests started out peacefully on Monday evening, some in the crowd threw water bottles at police, the Wall Street Journal reported. Police responded with rubber bullets and tear gas.
“If Jacob knew what was going on as far as that goes, the violence and the destruction, he would be very unpleased,” his mother said, encouraging those in Wisconsin to “take a moment and examine your hearts.”
“America is great when we behave greatly,” she added.
Protests have also spread throughout New York City, Minneapolis, Denver, and more cities across the country. Most demonstrations have been peaceful.
If you want to join a protest near you in honor of Blake, consider following Mashable’s tips from June on how to find a protest related to Floyd’s death. Substitute Floyd’s name with Blake’s to find relevant demonstrations as you search on Twitter and Facebook.
If you don’t want to raise your voice on the streets, consider donating to the Milwaukee Freedom Fund, which will help protesters in Kenosha with bail and getting in touch with attorneys. You can donate to the fund here.
3) Contact local officials
Although the officers involved in Blake’s shooting were put on administrative leave, you can still call or email local officials in Kenosha to demand they are held fully responsible:
Kenosha City Attorney:
262-653-4170; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or City Attorney Edward Antaramian at email@example.com.
Kenosha Mayor and City Administration: 262-653-4000; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Kenosha Police Non Emergency Line: 262-656-1234
Wisconsin Department of Justice: 608-266-1221; Email form.
This directory has more phone numbers for the city of Kenosha.
When you call or email, you can say something along the lines of:
“Hi, my name is [first and last name] and I am calling to demand justice for Jacob Blake who was shot multiple times on Sunday, Aug. 23. I demand that [what you think should happen]. Thank you for your time.”
That’s what a middle-school teacher in Chicago has suggested to her Instagram followers, and similar talking points will work, too.
4) Sign a petition
Additionally, you can sign the civil rights advocacy organization’s Color of Change’s petition to call for the firing and arrest of an officer who shot Blake as seen in a viral video. You can text too. (It’s unclear if just one officer shot Blake or if another at his side did as well.)
#JakeBlake broke up a fight. He walked away & headed to his car. As he entered his car, an officer grabbed his shirt to hold him in place and shot him 7 times in the back.
Text ‘Jake’ to 55156 to demand the immediate firing and arrest of the officer who attempted to murder him. pic.twitter.com/wxam22lCIR
— ColorOfChange (@ColorOfChange) August 24, 2020