Jacob Blake’s uncle says media attention has turned away from family’s pain
Rick Blake says his family is still recovering following the shooting of his nephew Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wis., in August, writing in a New York Times op-ed that he feels the media has turned away from his family’s pain.
“Our story is different from those of many families whose lives have been devastated by police brutality — our Li’l Jake survived,” Blake writes in the op-ed. “But in mostly every other way, the experience is similar. When the cameras stop rolling, the lights fade and public attention turns away, we’re left with our pain and we return to the battle against racism and for justice and reform.”
Blake goes on to illustrate what he says is the behind-the-scenes price Black families pay after police violence.
Since the incident in August, the Blakes’ lives have been filled with hospital visits, rehabilitation centers and media interviews. Blake says this new normal has caused the family to put their own health at risk during the pandemic.
Jacob Blake Sr., Jacob Blake’s father, suffers from diabetes, heart disease and chronic neuropathy but has remained involved in hospital visits despite coronavirus.
“The shooting of his son has forced him to put himself at further risk during a pandemic that disproportionately affects Black men and others in our community,” Rick Blake wrote for The New York Times.
Rick Blake writes that Blake Sr. has sacrificed his own needs to make his son a priority during this time.
“If I have to sacrifice myself for my son and my family, so be it,” Rick Blake recounts Blake Sr. telling him in the op-ed.
Sacrifice is a theme that Rick Blake says has permeated their lives for generations. His father, the Rev. Jacob S. Blake, marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his uncle Rev. Eustace L. Blake led a protest against police brutality in Newark, N.J.
He says that his family will continue to sacrifice until justice becomes a reality.
“Yes, we are weary. We as an African-American community are weary,” he wrote for the Times. “We are tired of this fight to ‘prove’ the value of our humanity — a truth that should be self-evident. But justice in this country is still for some and not for others. That there are still two systems, one for the privileged and one for the rest of us.”
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