The family of Jacob Blake held a block party in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Tuesday (Sep. 1), nearly two miles away from where President Donald Trump was visiting destruction from the recent unrest.
Justin Blake, Jacob’s uncle, kicked off the block party in the same area where his nephew was shot multiple times in the back by a police officer. According to Chicago Sun-Times reporter Mitchell Armentrout, Justin said that he wasn’t going to “let anyone smudge my nephew’s name.”
A flyer for the event promoted free food, free haircuts, music, voter registration booths, Coronavirus testing sites and craft centers where attendees could write words of encouragement to Jacob, who remains hospitalized following the shooting.
Prior to Trump’s visit to Kenosha, he announced that he would not meet with the Blake family because they reportedly wanted lawyers present. “I spoke with the pastor, wonderful man, the family’s pastor, and I thought it would be better not to do anything where there are lawyers involved,” the president said during a Monday (Aug. 31) press briefing.
He continued, “They wanted me to speak, but they wanted to have lawyers involved and I thought that was inappropriate, so I didn’t do that ... I may, at some point do that... but I just gave my best regards. But again, I spoke with the pastor.”
A few days ago, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers wrote Trump a letter advising him to “reconsider” his trip. Local leaders were concerned that his presence would cause more violence in the city, following the fatal shooting of two protesters last week.
“It is our job as elected officials to lead by example and to be a calming presence for the people we know are hurting, mourning and trying to cope with trauma,” Evers wrote. “Now is not the time for divisiveness. Now is not the time for elected officials to ignore armed militants and out-of-state instigators who want to contribute to our anguish.”
Check out a video from the block party below.
Trump is in Kenosha now. So the neighborhood where Blake was shot is holding an event to counter that, to keep the focus on Blake. Faith leaders also here. After some speeches, it's now a block party, with food, music, voter registration, and a Black Panther themed bounce house. pic.twitter.com/o5ACwcIkYx— でじこと Dexter Thomas (@dexdigi) September 1, 2020