Friends, Evanston community members gather to show support for Jacob Blake

About 150 people gathered in Evanston on Tuesday to show support for Jacob Blake, whose family has ties to the city and who was shot by police Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

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A group of about 150 people gathered in Evanston on Tuesday in a show of support for Jacob Blake, who was shot by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

A group of about 150 people gathered in Evanston on Tuesday in a show of support for Jacob Blake, a Black man whom police officers shot at least a half-dozen times Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

Blake, who attended middle and high school in Evanston, comes from a family of community activists in Evanston spanning over at least four generations, Evanston native Lonnie Wilson said.

In fact, the Tuesday’s rally — organized by family friends in partnership with Evanston Collective, a local social justice organization — started and ended in a parking lot across from Jacob Blake Manor, a low-income housing site for seniors that was named after Blake’s grandfather, the Rev. Jacob Blake, who pastored an Evanston church for years.

“They’ve been doing things in this town for close to 90 years, and the whole entire time, the African American families that are collectives in here… and they lived together, they cry together, and they die together,” said Wilson, one of many at the rally who said they personally knew the Blake family. “That’s what this is about — just to show support that one of ours and we’re hurting, too.”

Wilson had strong feelings about the shooting. “My reaction was that had nothing to do with bad policing; that’s bad humanity that shot [Blake].” 

Jasmine Edwards recalled fond memories of Blake, whom she knew in high school.

“It’s one thing happening around the world, but to see it happen to somebody that I grew up with, someone that I personally know, is even more drastic,” Edwards said. “I just really hope Jacob gets his peace and I hope moving forward that we see a change because we need it for our children.”

Edwards said she worries about the future of her three sons, who are Black.

“It actually makes me nervous and scared to know what their journey will be like,” she said. “They could just be walking down the street and they’ll stop you ... We need to be treated like everybody else.”

After community members and organizers called for police reform and justice for Blake — including Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., who urged Republicans to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act — demonstrators took to the street and marched around the block chanting, “Say his name, Jacob Blake” and “No justice, No peace.”

Tuesday’s rally in Evanston was just one of the many protests for Blake that took place nationwide. Hundreds demonstrated in Seattle on Monday night in solidarity with protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. There have also been protests this week in New York, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and other cities across the country over the Kenosha shooting.

Contributing: Associated Press

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