Earlier this week in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Jacob Blake, a Black man and father of six, was shot seven times in the back by a police officer.
Jacob was immediately airlifted to a nearby hospital, and after life-threatening injuries, survived, but his family has said that he will be paralyzed from the waist down. Fully detailed accounts are still being compiled, but according to reports and video footage, Jacob was attempting to get into his car when a police officer grabbed his shirt and then shot him seven times in the back while his young children were in the car. Law enforcement had been called to the scene originally due to a domestic dispute, which Jacob was reportedly attempting to break up.
Protests in Kenosha and other major U.S. cities (including here in NYC) began immediately to demand justice, as the officer has only been placed on administrative leave thus far. It comes after many instances of police violence against the Black community have rocked the country, and have so many people demanding change.
Demonstrations in New York City have been taking place consistently since George Floyd’s tragic death at the hands of police earlier this summer, calling for justice and policy changes that will work to dismantle ingrained racism in our police system and beyond.
On Monday after the news of Jacob’s shooting was released, a few hundred protestors first began to gather in Times Square, according to NYC Protest Updates 2020. The march then headed south down Fifth Avenue, until it reached Washington Square Park where it joined forces with activists celebrating the 75th birthday of LGBTQ activist Marsha P. Johnson. Police scanners indicated that crowds reached over 700.
Speeches were given in the park while others continues marching, eventually making their way across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Here's a video to show the size of the crowd in Manhattan right now. It extends from north of the Washington Square Park arch to beyond the park fountain. pic.twitter.com/gIdn71Jw2Z
— NYC Protest Updates 2020 (@protest_nyc) August 24, 2020
A vigil for Jacob also took place later this week in Union Square, where groups gathered to hold space for grief and healing
If you are looking to take action, here are 5 tangible ways to support the movement:
- If you’d like to demonstrate in person, social media accounts like Justice for George NYC and NYC Protest Updates 2020 post daily updates on planned protests, vigils and other events throughout the city, some specifically for Jacob Blake and others for other components of the Black Lives Matter movement.
- Call and email Kenosha and Wisconsin officials to make your voice heard on justice being served by arresting and firing the officer that shot Jacob, Rusten Sheskey. Their information has been gathered here by @ankita_71. You can also call 1-844-262-5256, and Change of Color will connect you directly to them.
- Sign petitions on Change.org and Color of Change, which demand the police officer who shot Jacob be held accountable.
- You can donate to Jacob Blake’s family via this GoFundMe, which will help cover Jacob’s medical expenses, mental and grief counseling for their family and to assist them as they fight for justice.
- Tell your senators to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which is a comprehensive bill including changes like “putting an end to qualified immunity and no-knock warrants, strengthening investigations into discriminatory and unconstitutional practices by police, establishing a national police misconduct registry, and outlawing racial profiling,” according to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. You can send a message to your senators here.
featured image source: Instagram / @jrobertson.nyc