August 24, 2020

Statements on Kenosha shooting of Jacob Blake

Statements on Kenosha shooting of Jacob Blake Featured Image

National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García and Wisconsin Education Association Council President Ron Martin today issued the following joint statement about the shooting of Jacob Blake by the Kenosha, Wisconsin police.

“Jacob Blake’s children watched in shock as Kenosha police shot their father seven times in the back. While we pray for Jacob, his family, and his doctors as their collective efforts will define his healing, our nation’s healing will take a different type of collective effort.

“The trauma experienced by Jacob Blake’s children reverberates around the country today as our communities and students have witnessed more incidents of police violence against Black men and women this summer despite continued strong calls for police reform and justice. The violence against Black people and the resistance needed to change are direct results of white supremacy culture in policing and in our society.

“Black children and their families across the country are literally bearing the brunt of the callous decisions of lawmakers and leaders who have failed to rein in violent police practices in our communities, resource our schools and value our families’ health and well-being.

“The Black Lives Matter protests that have defined this summer calling for accountability and justice through their organizing have united so many of us to continue the work to ensure all communities, including Black and Brown communities, can realize the promise of our nation’s founding ideals—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“The systemic racism in policing, health-care, education and across our economic systems is our national emergency. We join with our educators, students, families and communities in calling for accountability, justice and policy change. We call on policymakers to meet our collective calls for justice with the urgency they deserve.”

Additionally, the Kenosha Education Association released the following statement:

We wake this morning with heavy hearts and restless minds, replaying the tragic and violent event that disrupted our Kenosha community yesterday afternoon. Jacob Blake, the dedicated father of two EBSOLA Creative Arts students, was shot by Kenosha Police with his children in the car watching, undoubtedly traumatized by what they witnessed. Miraculously, Jake is now in stable condition, but the pain, anger, and fear that his family and other members of our community feel cannot be erased.

As educators, we are now left grappling with what we can do and say to ease the heartache of our families, students, teachers, and community members who have been impacted by this situation. While it is important to indicate our support with words, we must also put those words into action and stand with Jake and his family as they demand answers and fight for justice. We must ensure that our students and their families are not forced to live in fear. We must ensure that our schools and communities are given the tools and space to heal. We must ensure that our students’ emotional needs are prioritized as they process these difficult times. KEA is committed to advocating for the schools our precious children deserve and a public education that is anti-racist, restorative, and honors their lived experiences. We demand that Kenosha be a community where our Black and Brown students will be safe. It must be a place where Black lives matter and are valued and protected by the institutions that exist to serve our Kenosha community.

Enough is enough. The time for change is now.

If you are ready to take action, the Kenosha Unified School District will be presenting on equity in our schools at the regular school board meeting tomorrow night, Tuesday, August 25 at 7:00p.m. We encourage our members and community to demand immediate and ongoing action toward the anti-racist schools our students deserve and that we prioritize the safety of our Black and Brown students and their families who have been disproportionately impacted by Covid.