On Tuesday, August 25, at a news conference in Kenosha, Wisconsin following the police shooting of her son Jacob Blake seven times in the back at close range two days earlier, Julia Jackson spoke these impassioned words for healing and humanity.
"My son has been fighting for his life. And we really just need prayers.
As I was riding through here, through this city, I noticed a lot of damage that doesn’t reflect my son or my family. If Jacob knew what was going on as far as that goes, the violence and the destruction, he would be very unpleased. So I’m really asking and encouraging everyone in Wisconsin and abroad to take a moment and examine your hearts.
Citizens, police officers, firemen, clergy, politicians: do Jacob justice on this level and examine your hearts. We need healing.
As I pray for my son’s healing physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I also have been praying, even before this, for the healing of our country.
God has placed each and every one of us in this country because he wanted us to be here. Clearly, you can see by now that I have beautiful, brown skin. But take a look at your hand. And whatever shade it is, it is beautiful as well.
How dare we hate what we are. We are humans. God did not make one type of tree. Or flower. Or fish or horse. Or grass. Or rock. How dare you ask him to make one type of human that looks just like you. I’m not talking to just Caucasian people. I am talking to everyone, white, black, Japanese, Chinese, red, brown. No one is superior to the other. The only supreme being is God himself.
Please, let’s begin to pray for healing for our nation. We are the United States. Have we been united? Do you understand what’s going to happen when we fall because a house that is against each other cannot stand?
To all those police officers, I’m praying for you and your families. To all of the citizens, my Black and brown sisters and brothers, I’m praying for you. I believe that you are an intelligent being just like the rest of us.
Let’s use our hearts, our love, and our intelligence to work together to show the rest of the world how humans are supposed to treat each other. America is great when we behave greatly."
Letetra Widman's speech
"I am my brother's keeper. 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 important, make sure you say human.
Human life. Let it marinate in your mind. A human life. His life matters. People have reached out to me to say sorry that this happened to my family. 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. He's my family. Philando [Castile], Mike Brown, Sandra [Bland], this has been happening to my family. I 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've been watching police murder people who 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 don't want your pity. I want change."
The words of Jacob Blake, Sr.
Jacob Blake's father, also Jacob Blake, lake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr., almost too distressed to speak, said, “They shot my son seven times — seven times like he didn’t matter. But my son matters. He’s a human being and he matters.”
When asked whether he had confidence as investigations get underway, he said, “I don’t have any 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 that hasn’t come up with an answer or a comment at this point."
Read reporter Eugene Scott's excellent piece about how Blake's family's response to Blake's shooting displayed the full range of Black America's emotions: wapo.st/32IQYhr
Donate to the Blake family here.