It’s been one year since Jacob Blake was shot seven times and paralyzed from the waist down by a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer, sparking a new round of demonstrations in the sea of protests and uprisings against police violence that took place in 2020. The shooter, Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey, hasn’t been charged or even disciplined for shooting Blake, but that hasn’t stopped the victim’s family and other community members from continuing to speak out and seek justice.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, dozens of people joined Blake’s family Saturday at Kenosha’s Civic Center Park for an event organized by Leaders of Kenosha, an organization that has put together more than 70 events aimed at justice for Blake, according to Executive Director Tanya McLean.
“Our message is of unity and just coming together as a community to rally around the family and to demand justice for Jacob, still,” McLean said during the rally. “We’re calling for transparency with the police department and we need to see some things happen because nothing has happened over this last year.”
Jacob Blake Sr. also took the stage Saturday to shout down the very idea that justice is blind in America while calling for a system that actually lives up to that idea.
“We must seek a justice system that is just for all,” he said. “The lady holding that scale has a blindfold on. But when it comes to us, she doesn’t have a blindfold on. So if we don’t get equal justice in the community, then we get nothing. We’re not asking, we’re demanding, that all Brown people are treated as our Caucasian counterparts.”
In fact, the entire point of the demonstration appeared to be centered around letting it be known that the family and surrounding community will not be taking their collective foot off the neck of Kenosha and its police department until Blake receives the justice they believe he deserves.
“The whole purpose of being here is to bring about the unity to the community and show those who are in power that we are not going to stop until we get justice,” Blake’s uncle, Justin Blake, said, CBS 58 reported.
Of course, Blake himself was unable to attend the event—which was also attended by Bianca Austin, who is Breonna Taylor’s aunt—but he was able to speak to the crowd over the phone.
“I’m sitting in my bed fighting for my life, and they said they shot me over what? But they let those people do what?” Blake said.
Meanwhile, Blake’s family isn’t the only one seeking to hold the Kenosha Police Department and other officials accountable. According to the Washington Post, the family of Anthony Huber, who was shot and killed during civil unrest resulting from the Blake shooting by Kyle Rittenhouse, filed a federal lawsuit last week accusing the city, its police department and its county sheriff’s department of being in league with white militia groups giving them “license to wreak havoc and inflict injury.”
The suit also noted that if Rittenhouse were Black, the defendants named in the complaint “would have acted much differently.”
The stories of Blake and Rittenhouse serve as a reminder that there are two Americas. Rittenhouse is still facing a host of charges related to the killing two protesters and seriously injuring a third last year, but with conservative pundits, politicians and others rallying behind him since the shooting took place, it’s still clear that in the eyes of many, including law enforcement, an unarmed Black man is still more dangerous than a white teen illegally wielding an AK-47.