Yesterday, William Eason and Bobby Burns of Evanston Collective organized a rally in support of Jacob Blake and his family. Eason is a long-time friend of Jacob Blake's father, also Jacob Blake, dating back to their days at Evanston Township High School (ETHS).
Jacob Blake, 29, was shot in the back by police seven time at point-blank range on Sunday evening in Kenosha.
The Blake family has deep roots and many family members living in Evanston. Many Evanston residents remember his late grandfather as the pastor of Ebenezer AME -Evanston IL and for his civil rights work to push for fair and affordable housing in Evanston. The rally was held across the street from Jacob Blake Manor, which provides affordable living for seniors.
More than 200 people participated in the rally, which was followed by a short march.
Speakers included Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Robin Rue Simmons 5th Ward Alderman, William Eason, Bobby Burns, and Jasmine Edwards, a friend of Jacob's from eighth grade, who said he was her first boyfriend.
Voices from the rally.
Here's Michael Koplow.
"This whole thing is heartbreaking and enraging. We're taught that we shouldn't hold any person in contempt. And a good chunk of society holds Black people in contempt. Or Muslims in contempt, or us [Jews] in contempt. And that's just not okay. It's true that all lives matter, but all lives includes Black lives. Black lives do matter.
I don't understand. I mean, the demonstrations after George Floyd's death against excessive violence. You'd think they'd think, 'Gee, we'd better stop with excessive violence.' but they didn't. They ramped it up. Shooting anyone in the back is not okay. Under any circumstances. It doesn't matter if it's self-defense--or even misguided self defense--it's just thumbing their nose at Black people."
Here's six-year-old My’le Dargan
My'le's mother Michel'le Harris started a series of "Conversations in the Park" following the three murders that occurred in Evanston over three days in late July. My'le led the crowd in chants of "Black Lives Matter," and “No justice, no peace” as they marched around the block.
Here's Rep. Jan Schakowsky
"The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed the House of Representatives and what it did was mandate, not just encourage, that the police take all kinds of precautions in terms of chokeholds and behavior, because we can't keep gathering this way.
But today's gathering is about a family crisis, an Evanston family crisis, that's why all of us aren't here to give hope, and support to the family. But it's also about a national crisis. How many times and how many places are we going to have to gather to talk about Black Lives Matter, to talk about justice in policing?
We have got to finally pass that bill.
I want to tell you that bill would have never been on the agenda. It wasn't even predicted until thousands, 10's of thousands, hundreds of thousands of Americans, and even people around the world, stood up and said enough is enough.
That is why that bill even got on the agenda and passed the House of Representatives. And so organizing works, demonstrating works, demanding from our public officials actually does work. And now we have to take the next step, and make sure that the Republicans will understand that they have to pass this bill.
Without justice, there is no peace.
My heart goes out to the family. This is a name, Jacob Blake is known throughout Evanston, that name belongs to Evanston for at least three generations in this town of doing good work, of providing housing, helping people. And so, we are gathered here today to pray for Jacob, that his injuries will be better, that he will be able to walk again. And to just express our solidarity with the Blake family, I am proud to be with you today. I recently had surgery, I'm not gonna be able to march with you, but I am with you every step of the way until we have justice."
Here's Ald. Robin Rue Simmons
"It's awful that we keep meeting under these circumstances.
In the light of COVID and the police terror that we've seen in this nation that we keep meeting under these circumstances.
I'm really just running. out of words.
It's different this time because it's touched our community.
I can't say that I have a personal story with Jacob, but we all know and love, Jacob, the Blake family, we know and love the Blake family they are legacy family they have poured into this community they have given back, his father has worked to provide jobs and opportunities for returning citizens.
His uncle, Justin, who has served this community and served Chicagoland working on the black uplift the collective Black uplift. I can speak to the historical context that I have learned about Jacob Blake, and his legacy across the street, Jacob Blake Manor, I can speak to the legacy of the family. I have only heard good about Jacob, I can tell you that Jacob's younger brothers are my nephews, my sister's children, so this is touching us all, is touching the community. I'm so proud of this community, Evanston, for the very bold action that we have taken we have not been compromised. We have stood up, we have united, the ally community, the Black community has done extraordinarily well in this space, but enough is enough. We have got to say enough is enough.
We are exhausted. We are traumatized. We are functioning in trauma every day, getting up as Black people, as people who love Black people, every day, scared to turn on social media when you just want to look at something pleasant. And we have to look at our people being shot. Jacob was shot at least seven times in his back with his sons in the back seat of his car. This is a problem, America.
To the Blake family, to Jacob. Jacob, brother, we are praying with you we are praying for your full recovery.
We are hurting. We are all hurting. So continue to stand up. Raise your voice, vote, continue to unite, let go of your differences and unite on this one thing: Black Lives Matter."
More voices from the rally tomorrow.