Jacob Blake’s family and attorneys held a press conference this afternoon while the young father of six lay in surgery, paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in the back SEVEN TIMES at point blank range by a white police office in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
One of his sisters, Letetra Wideman, spoke for not even two minutes, but she said a mouthful, to which I cannot even begin to add, so allow us to simply elevate her words.
WIDEMAN: I am my brother’s keeper. And when you say the name Jacob Blake, make sure you say father. Make sure you say cousin. Make sure you say son. Make sure you say uncle. But most importantly, make sure you say human. Human life. Let it marinade in your mouth, in your minds. A human life. Just like every single one of y’all. And we’re human. And his life matters.
So many people have reached out to me telling me they’re sorry that this happened to my family. Well, don’t be sorry because this has been happening to my family for a long time. Longer than I can account for. It happened to Emmett Till. Emmett Till is my family. Philando, Mike Brown, Sandra. This has been happening to my family. And I’ve shed tears for every single one of these people that it’s happened to. This is nothing new.
I’m not sad. I’m not sorry. I’m angry. And I’m tired. I haven’t cried one time. I stopped crying years ago. I am numb. I have been watching police murder people that look like me for years. I’m also a black history minor. So not only have I been watching it in the 30 years that I’ve been on this planet, but I’ve been watching it for years before we were even alive. I’m not sad. I don’t want your pity. I want change.
Mr. Blake’s parents displayed a range of emotions, the depths and intensity of their pain undeniable. A reporter started to ask Jacob Blake Sr. something about confidence in the investigation, and he gave the answer before the reporter ever finished asking it. And every word he spoke was the absolute truth.
REPORTER: Do you have confidence —
MR. BLAKE SR.: No, no I do not. I don’t have confidence in anybody that is white, that is doing an investigation about a Black young man that was shot seven times in his back, and haven’t come up with an answer or a comment AT THIS POINT? Is not — is not welcome! IS NOT WELCOME!
REPORTER 2: Can you give us an idea how the children are doing who witnessed all this?
MR. BLAKE SR.: They are — they are stuck right now. We’re going to seek out some of the best child psychologists in the United States. And we’re going to work with them, and the whole picture, that it plays over and over in front of their little faces. All my grandson asks repeatedly is why did the police shoot my daddy in the back?
(Grabbed his shirt.)
How would you feel if your white son walked up to you as a mother, and said, “Mommy, why did the police shoot my daddy in the back?” You have no CLUE.
When his Mr. Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson spoke again, closing out the press conference by answering the final question, her answer proved that white America doesn’t deserve a man like Jacob Blake Jr., or, frankly, his entire family.
MS. JACKSON: He [Jacob] — when I began to pray for him, he told me to stop. He asked the police officer that was in the room with us if he was a man of faith. He responded yes, in short. He asked him to pray with us. He asked him to pray with us. The three of us prayed together.
In the words of his sister, they don’t want pity. They want change. That change is on us white people.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with Mr. Blake’s medical and family expenses. You can donate to it here.