KENOSHA, Wisc.— The family of Jacob Blake led a diverse crowd of approximately 1,500 people downtown to Kenosha’s county courthouse. The march was organized by the family and a local campaign group, Black Lives Activists of Kenosha (BLAK). The Aug. 29 gathering served as a rallying cry for justice and to demand that the officer involved in the shooting of Jacob Blake be arrested and convicted for attempted murder.
The 29-year-old father was shot by police seven times in the back six days prior. He is still in the hospital and is paralyzed, according to family members and their attorneys.
People traveled from nearby cities and communities to show their support for the Blake family. Banners, hand painted signs, and colorful flags hovered above the crowd as they marched down the street chanting, “What’s his name? Jacob Blake… .”
The father of Blake, Jacob Blake, Sr., gave an exclusive interview to The Final Call about his son’s condition. Blake, Sr., who has stood as a strong advocate for his son shared his appreciation for Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan’s love and support. “I’d like to greet the Nation (of Islam) and I have a lot of respect for Brother Farrakhan, especially because we both went to Winston-Salem State,” he said.
“I’m a Ram. I want him to know that I am happy for his support and the brothers that he sent my way. I had to grant you an interview or I wouldn’t be a Muslim.” he added “My son is fighting a hard fight man. But we are strong, and we stand together … Mashallah, it’s Allah’s (God’s) Will. He’s brought him this far, so I know that he’s going to be alright. We can’t stop the fight; how long have we been fighting? A long time brother,” he said.
“Do you see all of this red, black, and green out here?” he asked, referring to the colors often associated with Pan-Africanism. “We’re going to keep fighting brother.”
When the Blake family stepped on the stage to speak, the crowd cheered and chanted “No Justice No Peace … .” Mr. Blake, Sr., opened his talk with the Al-Fatiha prayer of the Muslim faith. “Why do I say Al-Fatiha,” he said to the crowd, “because in Al-Fatiha there’s seven verses, and there were seven bullets put in my son’s back. Hell yeah, I’m mad but understand when you get mad, you lose control of your nature,” he continued.
“My nature is to protect my son, to stand up for my son when he cannot stand up. To ask the police in this town, what gave them the right to attempted murder on my child?” he passionately asked. “What gave them the right to think my son was a criminal? I’m tired of this!” he said before adding, “No Justice No Peace!”
Jacob Blake, Jr., was transported by helicopter to the neighboring city of Milwaukee for hospitalization. He has undergone hours of multiple operations. Kenosha police held him in custody and originally handcuffed him to the bed stating Mr. Blake, Jr., had an outstanding warrant. Attorneys for the Blake’s have said the restraints were eventually removed. The felony warrant against Blake was vacated Aug. 28.
Mr. Blake, Sr., commented about the warrant being vacated. “The warrant vacated was bullsh**, to put my son in shackles. Why was my son shot and shackled?” he asked. “He’s a human being, living, breathing, food eating human. He’s a human that takes care of his kids,” he added.
“What type of point was the police trying to prove, when they shot my son in front of his kids? How would you feel if that type of fear was put on your children and you were the one they watch get shot?” the father asked
According to a neighbor that wanted to be identified as Mike, Mr. Blake Jr. had just broken up a fight when police approached him. “Next thing we see is them tussling with dude. They tried to taser him but it didn’t fade him. So, he just walked away from them, that’s when they shot him. That’s what everyone saw on video,” said Mike.
The event lasted over two hours and featured various speakers, with a focus on injustices, self-reliance and Black power. Fred Hampton, Jr., son of former Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, also spoke. Mr. Hampton, Jr., serves as chairman of the Black Panther Party Cubs (BPPC).
“It’s important that we keep the heat on the streets; that we seize the time, keep the momentum going, and continue to organize. There has been an era of a class of people for quite some time where this has been held like an old southern secret,” he said. “I think that we got to call it what it is, it’s police terrorism. Every day it’s September 11 for us in our communities. So, I think that we’re in the stage in the game where we intensely organize not only to have this discussion but don’t wait for Black History Month to roll around. Don’t wait for election time to roll around, but we have to tackle this in every arena in our community, now!” he stressed.