Aug 27, 2020
Jesse Jackson Press Conference Transcript August 27: Police Shooting of Jacob Blake
Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson held a press conference on August 27 to address the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Read the transcript of his remarks here.
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… for the NAACP. With me are appointed and elected officials. I just want to recognize a few. We have our senators from the State Of Wisconsin, Senator Lena Taylor, and Senator Wood, from our area. We have Congresswoman Moore, she’s here also. Our Mayor, John Antaramian. Also the Alderman from the district where things happen, Anthony Kennedy. Now also from our State Assembly, we have Assemblyman Todd Ohnstad here with us today also.
Speaker 1: (00:44)
Senator Lehman too.
Speaker 2: (00:45)
Speaker 1: (00:45)
I meant to say, State Assemblyman… I said, I already mentioned Senator Taylor already. And we have folks here from our school board, Yolanda Santos-Adams. And if I missed anyone…
So I’m going to get started with my comments and after I get finished with my comments, our State President from Wisconsin, Wendell Taylor will proceed with the rest of the program. Wendell Harris. You have to excuse me.
Kenosha, Wisconsin, it is with tremendous heaviness in my heart that I speak on the terms of the event that occurred Sunday at 2805 40th Street in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Kenosha NAACP join the congress of community members and organizations who are committed to finding solutions, and resolutions, and meeting with the Kenosha Police Department, the District Attorney, and the police and fire commission in that regard.
Without any additional information or investigative facts, the Kenosha Police Department seems to have engaged in lethal force in the shooting of Jacob Blake. To add insult to the injury, Blake being gunned down has turned him into a spectacle. The Kenosha community is grieving as a result of this tragic shooting, but also we grieve for what seems to be the loss of civility in Kenosha. Regardless who called the police, we are entitled to civility, respect, and dignity as citizens of Wisconsin and the United States.
When all of us contact care, we despite bleeding, we are desperate for relief, not an ever enduring grief. But in most tragic ways, we are finding ourselves with police authorities who seem more concerned with ammunition and escalation. Those who have been ordained with the privilege to act under the color of law continue to support the communities that we are serving. And our beliefs must be held to a greater standard and accountability in this tragedy.
Now more than ever, we are here in Kenosha with a tremendous duty to ensure safety of all Kenosha citizens. And in the intent of securing our better days, we ask everyone to join together, stay calm, stay collected. I understand protesting. The NAACP has been a leader and supporter of protesting since its founding in 1909.
The looting and destruction that has been taking place during these past few days, we do not support, but we would rather see the protest done in a peaceful and voicestrous manner. Our communities must lead the change in reconciliation and togetherness. We must not let this tragedy take away from the greatness that is in our hearts. That concludes my comments. I turn you over to our state conference, president Wendell Harrison.
Wendell Harris: (04:49)
Thank you. Thank you, Anthony. Give it up for, Anthony.
Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President.
Wendell Harris: (04:55)
On behalf of the Wisconsin Conference Of Branches NAACP, Derek Johnson, our CEO, and the entire board of directors of the NAACP in Wisconsin, and our national board, I’m honored to come before you this morning hosting the Right Reverend Jesse Jackson in Wisconsin today, to help us carry out this press conference and to make it what it should be. Let the world hear every word that we say today.
Wendell Harris: (05:33)
I’m going to briefly read you a brief message from our president, a message from President Johnson, that all of us in the NAACP, we speak with one voice, and this message says: Derek Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP. “The appalling and hideous shooting of Jacob Blake is yet another stark reminder of the free will attacks committed against Black people at the hands of those entrusted to maintain public safety.”
Wendell Harris: (06:07)
“The recent shooting comes on the heels of the civil unrest that has caused the world to take heed to the longstanding pandemic of systematic racism and injustice. The unfortunate and sobering reality is that Black men and women are under perpetual fear of having their lives taken from them at any given moment while engaging with police officers.”
Wendell Harris: (06:34)
“In a country where the phrase “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” empathizes undeniable rights. Jacob Blake is another prime example, a succession of individuals, that the promise of this nation ring holler for far too many minorities.”
Wendell Harris: (06:56)
“At this moment, the work of the American people is clear and unquestionable. We must continue to fight, organize, and mobilize against police brutality. While the victims in the state sanctioned killings at the hands of law enforcement. While the visions of Jacob Blake, Ahmaud Avery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others play over and over in our minds, we must not grow weary until we’ve achieved police liberty and substantive change is realized.”
Wendell Harris: (07:39)
“If there was ever a time for us to unite against the common threat, to assist the existence of Black people is now. Our thoughts and prayers with Jacob Blake and his family and friends as he continues to fight for his life and the return of his children.”
Wendell Harris: (07:59)
Again, thank you all for taking a moment to hear what I have to say on behalf of the NAACP. And we’re going to take care of a couple of house keeping things before I step down. I’m going to be facilitating this conversation. And when I give you that look, everybody, but the Reverend Dr. Jesse Jackson, I want you to step away from the mic because we have to expedite this in a timely manner, because there are some other things going on in Wisconsin with Dr. Jackson today, all of Wisconsin wants to hear.
Wendell Harris: (08:31)
So thank you all for being here. And the NAACP is with you, but we will not rest until criminal justice policies are changed in the state of Wisconsin and that we all have our freedom and rights. Thank you. Thank you. Next person on the agenda is the good doctor, Reverend Jackson’s national spokesperson, Bishop Tavis Grant. Thank you.
Tavis Grant: (08:53)
I am Bishop Tavis Grant. T-A-V-I-S G-R-A-N-T. I’m the national field director for the Rainbow Push Coalition, who has offices in 25 cities across the country. We’re here today because we’ve had enough. This day, this week marks four years when Colin Kaepernick began his crusade to strike a chord with the conscious of America that racism is a virus that we have no vaccine for.
Tavis Grant: (09:26)
If we were to address racism like we address terrorism, racist individuals with racist rhetoric would be much more reluctant and have greater hindrances than being out in the open and in plain sight, as the 17-year-old shooter was. Had Jacob Blake been a 17-year-old Black male with a loaded weapon, he would not be alive today.
Tavis Grant: (09:51)
It is only by the grace of God that he is alive and we offer our national and international prayers for he and his family. Why is it that from LeBron James, to Stephen Curry, to football players, tennis players, athletes of all walks are now boycotting and joining this cause to strike the nerve of conscious in America. I want to play for you just briefly, a reason why this insipid racism that is in every institution of America, there’s an economic gap, a financial gap, a health gap.
Tavis Grant: (10:35)
One of the persons, as an icon, as a servant, as a Lieutenant of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for over 50 years, he’s marched across America asking us to keep hope alive. We now welcome the Right Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson.
Jesse Jackson: (10:52)
I want to express my thanks to the NAACP for hosting this conference today. Congresswoman Gwen Moore from.. Is there Congresswoman Gwen Moore? Senator Lena Taylor. I want to play a tape for you first to show you this climate that we’re dealing with here in Wisconsin. Particularly in this area. Bishop?
Tavis Grant: (11:24)
Speaker 3: (11:24)
Excuse me, Reverend one moment. If we cannot have other press conferences while we’re having this press conference? It would be much appreciated. Go ahead, Reverend.
Jesse Jackson: (11:35)
This is the voice of the Sheriff in this area. This is the climate setup. Here we go.
Speaker 3: (11:43)
You can’t turn it up?
Tavis Grant: (11:43)
Speaker 4: (11:43)
Let’s put them away at some point. You have to do something politically correct.
Jesse Jackson: (11:43)
Put it close to the mic.
Speaker 4: (12:01)
And I don’t care what bring them here to move them out. If there’s a threshold that they cross, these people, they have to be aware of us. No recreational time in the jails. We put them away. We put them away for the rest of their lives so that the rest of us can be better. If society has to come to a threshold where there’s some people that aren’t worth saving. We need to build warehouses for these people and to lock them away for the rest of their lives. Let’s put them in jail. Let’s stop them from truly, at least some of these males, from going out and getting ten other women pregnant, and having small children. Let’s put them away. At some point, we have to stop being politically correct, and I don’t care what race, I don’t care what move they are. If there is a threshold that they cross, these people have to be wearhoused. No recreational time in the jails. We put them away. We put them away for the rest of their lives so that the rest of us can be better.
Speaker 4: (13:03)
We put them away for the rest of their lives, so that the rest of us can be better.
Jesse Jackson: (13:05)
How can the press link to this. They couldn’t hear this well. Here’s the sheriff speaking of what housing people, put them away the rest of their lives, and this anti-protest season. How can they link to this?
Speaker 5: (13:19)
Part of our challenge is both with the patronizing of the police chief of the 17-year-old. There was no reason for a 17-year-old to carry a loaded weapon to try to preserve peace in the city of Kenosha. You had city police. You had county police. You had a thousand National Guard. You had more than enough security in the city to do the job of law enforcement.
Jesse Jackson: (13:50)
How do they link to this?
Speaker 6: (13:50)
Got to be deputized.
Speaker 5: (13:50)
These individuals… these individuals are linked malicious, are part of the racism problem. [inaudible 00:13:58] is a part of the racism problem. And, institutional racism. You can go to our website, rainbowpush.org, and retrieve this recording of the sheriff saying, “We need to build warehouses for these people.” He’s using this dog and whistle, “These people.” We are not, “These people.” We are Black people and Black lives matter.
Black lives matter! (applause)
Jesse Jackson: (14:26)
I want to express my thanks to the leadership gathered here today. Athletes have stood up. I think Lebron James deserves a Nobel Prize-
Speaker 7: (14:38)
Jesse Jackson: (14:38)
… for standing up in the Trayvon case in Miami; setting up building a school in Ohio for Breonna Taylor. He deserves… He’s changed the culture of athletes in America today. I want to make this point clear: There’s a pattern of killing Black people. When Roof killed nine Black people in church in Charleston, South Carolina, police took him to get a hamburger before taking him to jail. He walked away. The killer walked away free.
Jesse Jackson: (15:14)
When George Floyd was killed in Minnesota, the killer went home that night. Prosecutor said nothing can happen. The next day, when Keith got the case, the first time in history in Minnesota, the police had been indicted for killing a Black.
Jesse Jackson: (15:38)
Breonna Taylor, the killer in Kentucky still walks free today. The killer of Jacob[inaudible 00:15:49], the shooter, walked free today.
Jesse Jackson: (15:54)
The fact of the matter is, the prosecutor said in Minnesota, they could not find a case against the killer of George Floyd. Keith Ellison, that’s the attorney general, moved quickly and indicted them. Now, they’re guilty until proven innocent because of the horrendous killing.
Jesse Jackson: (16:12)
[inaudible 00:16:12] in this state. Attorney General to move and move quickly. We must know that justice works for the people.
Jesse Jackson: (16:23)
Second, I want to make this concern that, shot in the back seven times.
Jesse Jackson: (16:34)
In front of his children. No, no justification.
Jesse Jackson: (16:37)
Before I met [inaudible 00:16:39] in Chicago, covered up the tape, 400 days, 16 shots, the last thing he approached him with a knife. Shot him in the back. Paid five million dollars, five million dollars for cover up and it didn’t work.
Jesse Jackson: (16:56)
So we had Laquan McDonald, Breonna Taylor, Jacob here in Wisconsin… pattern. We demand justice from the country.
Jesse Jackson: (17:04)
There is a kind of moral desert at the top. And this here, 57 years, I was in Washington D.C. Just left jail in Greensboro, North Carolina, was trying to use a public restaurant. President had a little power, but had aspirations for justice and decency. The moral desert, top down, as the rain is coming, top down. When Dr. King gave his speech in Washington and John Lewis 1963, only one black official in the whole south, Leroy Johnson from Atlanta, Georgia. Texas to Florida, Maryland, we couldn’t use a single public toilet. Banished form the Howard Johnson. Couldn’t room at the Holiday Inn. We lived in tyranny. Black and brown so set behind, Nazi prison, we’re all on American military bases. Fifty-seven years later that’s something more sinister. Case of Minnesota, Wisconsin, up south, something is going awry. President Trump said in his speech in Chicago, if protestors violated them I’ll pay the bill. That’s a signal. Like in paddy wagon, put them in the truck and hurt their heads it’s all right with me. That climate, top down, kind of moral desert, hurts all of America.
Jesse Jackson: (18:36)
Some here in Wisconsin, he brings up the white church and white citizens. It’s not to be swept with a clean brush. A white minister should be here because this policeman who killed, who shot Jacob, seven times in the back, seven times in the back, seven in the back, there’s no threat to them. The investigation should be in the two who watched it. They should be indicted as well.
Jesse Jackson: (19:11)
Because if Jacob had shot the police seven times, he couldn’t have gone home that night. We need police, but not above the law. To be fair, to be honest in some real sense.
Jesse Jackson: (19:26)
And then a young man 17- years-old, his home training, says that he has the right to run down the street with a loaded weapon. Now Jacob had no weapon anyone can see that. Shot. He runs through the street with a rifle, killed two people.
Jesse Jackson: (19:44)
Reverend please give me a bottle of water.
Jesse Jackson: (19:49)
We deserve better than this. We must protest until the three of them have been indicted.
Jesse Jackson: (20:02)
Indicted and convicted, prosecuted, and indicted first. They must not sleep at home at night in comfort. The white neighbors must not be sanctuaries for killers. Charleston, South Carolina, or St. Louis [inaudible 00:20:20], white neighbors must not be sanctuaries for killers. We deserve better than this.
Jesse Jackson: (20:26)
America must be America for all of us. We fought enough wars, pay enough taxes, we deserve equal protection under the law. We are not getting it.
Jesse Jackson: (20:37)
I want to thank the athletes. In a real sense, they fulfill divine prophecy. They refuse to play ball, they chose emancipation over entertainment.
Jesse Jackson: (20:54)
David in the Bible, Samson, they choose emancipation over entertainment. They fought for people, not just for a match. When Jack Johnson stood up and fought back, time when blacks were untouchables, the rise after the fight. That’s just why when you ran the race, Hiller walked away and he said, “Well I came back home and [inaudible 00:21:21] didn’t shake my hand either.
Jesse Jackson: (21:25)
Curt Flud, athlete, was selling from St. Louis to New York, said, “I can’t be sold.” He lost his baseball career. Every America has [inaudible 00:21:37] because of Curt Flood. He refused to be a slave. Same as Sherwood, basketball player, who refused to accept the idea he couldn’t play until his time was up. When these athletes stand up, we commend them, we stand with them. I want America to be America for all of its people today. What a great moment to be alive, in many ways.
Jesse Jackson: (22:11)
I will say this of this area, be non violent and disciplined. Not because we are scared, because we’re smart. They want to use the riots as-
Jesse Jackson: (23:02)
Speaker 8: (23:02)
… that was killed out here by these white malicious group. The family have no money.
Speaker 8: (23:07)
Speaker 9: (23:07)
… GoFundMe page. The only one, only one. But they want to come out here and talk about it. We haven’t seen you out here at none of our protests. Since day one, I’ve been out here everyday [crosstalk 00:23:29].
Speaker 10: (23:31)
Sir we got you. Step right over here.
Speaker 10: (23:37)
At this point, I’m gonna ask the media…
Speaker 10: (23:41)
For Reverend Jackson because Reverend Jackson deserves to get out of this heat-
Speaker 11: (23:46)
Oh my, what the question?
Speaker 12: (23:47)
Yeah, we got you, we got you. We got you brother.
Speaker 10: (23:52)
Questions from the media, please.
Speaker 10: (23:55)
Any questions from the media.
Speaker 9: (23:57)
I am the media, I’m recording for Black Lives Matter.
Speaker 10: (23:59)
You got your question, sir. We answered it, we got your back.
Speaker 9: (24:03)
You didn’t answer it.
Jesse Jackson: (24:03)
We will help raise the money to bury them in dignity.
Speaker 9: (24:06)
That’s what I wanted was a commitment. Thank you, sir.
Speaker 10: (24:09)
Thank you, thank you, thank you Reverend-
Speaker 9: (24:10)
Now when the NAACP due to come here?
Jesse Jackson: (24:10)
Yeah, they will .
Speaker 10: (24:15)
Speaker 9: (24:17)
Will the NAACP do a commitment?
Speaker 10: (24:18)
Yeah, certainly we commit to help you.
Speaker 9: (24:18)
Speaker 10: (24:19)
Do what you need to do Reverend Jackson. Thank you for being here. I’m going to ask the mayor-
Jesse Jackson: (24:25)
Speaker 10: (24:25)
Okay, Reverend Jackson’s got a question.
Jesse Jackson: (24:25)
Speaker 10: (24:25)
Speaker 10: (24:25)
Speaker 10: (24:25)
Speaker 13: (24:37)
Excuse me. Don’t do that to me again. I know what I was doing.
Speaker 10: (24:40)
No questions Doc.
Jesse Jackson: (24:41)
I really hope that the three men who killed or who shot and killed Jacob, who shot him, attempted murder, should be in jail until he can walk. Need to be in jail until he can walk. Same with the young man who killed the two. [inaudible 00:25:03]
Speaker 10: (25:05)
No, just a minute. One moment please.The mayor of this fine city has graced us with his city and we just want to hear from our mayor, followed by the mayor of this city will be Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Senator Lena Taylor-
Speaker 14: (25:25)
I’m gonna defer to my colleague, who is the senator in this area, Senator Wirch.
Speaker 10: (25:29)
Okay, is that all? And when that is done, we’ll get back to the agenda as it was written.
Speaker 10: (25:36)
I want to thank Reverend Jackson for coming again. It’s been a long time since the two of us have chatted. Many years ago. So, I do wish to welcome him to Kenosha and I also want to welcome my old friend, Gwen Moore who served with me in the legislature many years ago, well no, a few years ago, maybe [crosstalk 00:26:02].
Well, now few years ago, maybe it was. I just want to say to everyone here that the city is more than willing and we’ll be working with the NAACP, LULAC, and other minority communities to work together to try to solve systemic racism in our community. It’s not going to be quick, but we will begin that process. The clergy will be joining us. We are going to make sure that in the future we have a community that is safe for all individuals. With that, Reverend Jackson, thank you so much for coming.
Reverend Jackson: (26:34)
Mr. Mayor. Mr. Mayor. [crosstalk 00:26:38].
Keep your eyes on the prize.
Let us not get distracted by the effort for them to turn us all around. I just want to remember in Southeastern Wisconsin, I was born right down the road in Racine on Lake Michigan. We had the leadership in defying the fugitive slave order. This is a state that is capable of understanding that we’re all brothers and sisters. Like Julia Jackson, I just urge you, and our late great John Lewis, keep your eye on the prize, y’all. Let’s stick together.
Speaker 10: (27:16)
Thank you, Congresswoman. [inaudible 00:01:21]. There was a question for the mayor, following the question being answered. Mr. Mayor, will you answer this gentleman’s question? [crosstalk 00:27:27]. Please come forward. [crosstalk 00:27:30]. I need anyone that’s not speaking to just take a step back.
[crosstalk 00:27:34] talk to you when this is over with, but the question was [crosstalk 00:27:37]?
What are we doing? Yes. A number of months ago, the city already had started working with the clergy in the city on dealing with how we were going to deal with racism and how we were going to start dealing with some of the problems that we’re facing. Those meetings have been going on now for, as I said, at least two months, if not longer. In fact, what we have been doing is putting together how we were going to do it, committees being put together to deal with it, and having groups basically using the clergy and other leaders in the community to take charge of that concept.
We’re also working with the Department of Justice and looking at, in the future, having some meetings that will occur at churches, having people come in, talking about what we need to do. The Department of Justice is going to help us to incorporate those types of things. Those are just the things that are starting to go.
Speaker 10: (28:27)
Thank you, Mr. Mayor.
Reverend Jackson: (28:28)
But what we didn’t have [crosstalk 00:28:31] we didn’t have the right to vote. The 60 day countdown now to end the moral desert, make the flower bloom in the desert again in our country. The answer is coming top down. There’s a sense that it’s [inaudible 00:28:47] Americans [inaudible 00:28:48] Americans. We deserve better than that.
Reverend Jackson: (28:50)
We’re going to march. We’re protest, nonviolent and disciplined, in big numbers, that these three men are in jail, the young man who shot the two men. We challenge the white church and the white people [inaudible 00:29:04] sanctuary for these killers. [crosstalk 00:00:29:07].
Speaker 10: (29:07)
The next person is Senator Wirch. [crosstalk 00:29:09] Senator for this district, Bob Wirch. Thank you.
Bob Wirch: (29:19)
Thank you. I’m Senator Wirch and I’m a history major, like Gwen said, one of my heroes was John Lewis. John Lewis, may he rest in peace, set an example for all of us. I like to keep it simple. Pray for peace. Work for justice. That’s what we have to do in this community. We don’t want left wing violence. We don’t want right wing violence. We want peaceful demonstrations. And by God, we want change.
Bob Wirch: (29:57)
Now, what have we been doing? I’ve been working with Senator Taylor for criminal justice reform in this state. We need to do that. It is shameful that we have 25,000 people in our prisons versus Minnesota has what, 6,000 or something like that. We have to change the criminal justice system, mass incarceration, and we can start by a special session in Madison. And by God we follow it up by voting in November for permanent change. That’s how we change things in this state. Thank you for Senator Taylor for referring to me.
Speaker 10: (30:37)
Thank you. Senator Taylor and Senator Wirch, you will receive the NAACP’s plan for criminal justice reform today. We have a plan in place and I’m expecting my Senator to move it forward. Thank you. You hang around. I need you to say something before we leave.
Speaker 10: (31:04)
We’re going to now go to Dr. Darnell Williams, Administrator of the Wisconsin [crosstalk 00:31:13]. Darrell Williams, Wisconsin Emergency Management. Thank you, Dr. Williams.
Darrell Williams: (31:22)
Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you all for being here. My name is Dr. Darrell Williams and I’m the Administrator for Wisconsin Emergency Management for the state of Wisconsin. Let me just start by saying to this community, we asking of this entire community to stand strong as tough times don’t last but tough people do. I also want to get my most heartfelt sympathy to the family of Jacob Blake and his entire family.
Darrell Williams: (31:51)
In my role as a Administrator for Wisconsin Emergency Management, usually I come to communities and try to help them recover after a storm or a flood, but that’s not the reason why we’re here today. We’re here today because there’s a community that’s hurting. I want this community to know that we are going to do everything that we possibly can to help this community heal and recover after these events.
Darrell Williams: (32:16)
Let me just tell you, we, like you, are also saddened by the additional two deaths that happened. We do not want to see any more deaths on the streets of Kenosha. We know that the people here inside this community want peace, but we also know that they want change. We know that they want real change that’s going to make lives a lot better for all people, but especially those people of color. We also know that black lives matter and we also know that all lives cannot matter until black lives are part of the all.
Darrell Williams: (32:57)
We support a peaceful protest. But we also know that when there are people dying in the streets during those protests, that that’s not peaceful. We cannot change the current system with the same mindset that created it.
Darrell Williams: (33:13)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said the unrest stems from the voices of the unheard. Let me assure this community that your voices have definitely been heard. Now is the time for all of us. The challenge is for all of us to focus our efforts in a more positive direction. We can only achieve the change by working together. Together we can, and together we will, rebuild Kenosha. Thank you.
Speaker 10: (33:43)
Thank you, Dr. Williams. Is Dr. Ramel Smith here? Dr. Ramel Smith is going to talk to us about the effect of trauma that is happening in our communities, and especially what happened to those three children that were in that van just the other day when that other gentleman was shot. Dr. Smith.
Kweku Smith: (34:12)
My name is Kweku Smith, K-W-E-K-U Smith. I’m a licensed psychologist. Back in February, I was here at Carthage College to talk about trauma and wellness. We wanted to look at it from a proactive standpoint to see what we can do. But what we see all the time within trauma is three things. For trauma to happen, it has to be an event that’s life periling, that’s life causing, that causes some type of harm or ill to your life.
Kweku Smith: (34:37)
But then afterwards there’s some type of avoidance of the things that cause that trauma. Then there’s intrusions that come upon you. When we look upon that, what we have to recognize is that what these young children have to deal with is three different types of trauma.
Kweku Smith: (34:52)
It’s a historical trauma that every black person, every indigenous person has to deal with in this land. It’s DNA in our cellular DNA. The trauma that our ancestors had that we have every day.
Kweku Smith: (35:04)
Now you put that with the current trauma, with everything that’s going on, these young childrens might not be able to articulate it, but they will show it in a behavior. Later you will demonize them for manifesting that pain because of the trauma that created it.
Kweku Smith: (35:17)
But there’s something that we don’t talk about, and that’s what we call anticipatory trauma. In anticipatory trauma, that’s when every black momma is afraid to let her baby go to school at night. To let her son worry if he’s coming home. Worried about what’s going to happen.
Kweku Smith: (35:33)
See, I’m not just here because I’m a licensed psychologist. I’m not just here because I’m the past team psychologist for the Milwaukee Bucks. I’m also here because I’m a black man and all of us have had some type of trauma. [inaudible 00:35:45] every athlete stand up. They’re more than athletes. When you see every Reverend, when you see every community member, they not just talking about stuff that they see. We can talk about the plates, the Trayvon Martin, the Tamir Rices, but we also talking from a personal knowledge. We’ve all been traumatized. Every time something like this happens, we’re all traumatized. You want to talk about the riots, the rebellions. I didn’t see anybody talking about the Boston Tea Party, the Green Mob Boys, the Sons of Liberty, when they were trying to get their independence.
Kweku Smith: (36:15)
Whatever they want to do, what you better be hoping for is that they do what the NBA did and that the violence comes, but it comes in an economic revolution. Because that’s the true trauma. The income inequality that pervades this whole society. When you think about what’s coming, it could be a physical violence, or the violence could come in a different way, as I said, from an economic withdrawal that allows us to be able to all have that chance of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If we don’t deal with this trauma, it’s going to come back and it’s going to bite us.
Speaker 10: (36:46)
Thank you Dr. Smith. The next question I’m going to ask to [inaudible 00:36:51] my number one ally in the state of Wisconsin when it comes to NAACP work, is the first Vice President of the Wisconsin Conference of Branches. I would ask him to come forward and just share a few words. We are an organization that grow our leadership and it’s time for my our Vice President to step forward in this meeting.
Vice President: (37:15)
Good morning, brothers and sisters.
Vice President: (37:17)
We meet on this fine day with heavy hearts. I just want to bring a few notes about the NAACP Wisconsin’s approach to the future. I have old eyes, so I have to put these glasses on whenever I try to read and so forth, so bear with me. I’ll be brief, but I will be specific.
Vice President: (37:39)
The NAACP Wisconsin today commits to the following the agenda. Today, we look to help Kenosha heal, grow, and prosper. Focus on that last word. We believe out of this moment will come prosperity. We want to lead that movement. We want to be a part of the partnership that makes it happen. We will stand with the people of Kenosha as we’ve stood with black people since 1909.
Vice President: (38:08)
We will raise our level of advocacy with the appropriate state of Wisconsin, local government leaders and organizations, in the following areas. We want to address and highlight the inequalities of black lives. We’re going to start with police reform legislation. We’re going to get behind that and we’re going to push it. It’s going to make a difference in terms of who gets in and out the door of our police departments.
Fire the Chief.
Vice President: (38:35)
Followed by mass incarceration. So glad Senator Wirch mentioned that. It’s still a fundamental problem in our community. Economic development next, housing and eviction policies following that, and environmental justice.
Vice President: (38:49)
It is my hope that we will then move to what I believe is an organic movement led by the people of Kenosha. That is to request listening sessions, learn the stories of everybody affected by this event…
Vice President: (39:03)
And the stories of everybody affected by this event. Bring those stories to the table of our elected leaders at all levels, city, county, state. Share those stories that can lead to policy changes, program changes and resource allocation. We’re going in a direction now that we don’t like to go, but we’ve been asked to do something. So on behalf of the Wisconsin conference of branches, the Dane County branch, which I am president, we bring you greetings with a heavy heart, but with the movement, the passion to move forward. Thank you.
Speaker 10: (39:32)
Thank you, Mr. First Vice President. We would be, the NAACP would be derelict in its duties if we did not respect our leadership. In the city of Kenosha, there’s Alderman Anthony Kennedy, who we have not had heard from. Alderman Kennedy, will you please take the stage?
Anthony Kennedy: (40:05)
The last 72 hours in my town, in my city, has broke my heart. It has not broke my spirit. I have not been feeling God Sunday night. I’ve not been feeling God Monday night, but let me tell you when I felt God, when I started seeing these acts of kindness in the midst of chaos right here. Right here we saw the truth exposed. Protestors didn’t run down our town. Demonstrators didn’t burn down our town. Looters, rioters, white supremacists, agitators, they’re the ones who burned down our town. And that lie that the protestors did it was exposed right here on this ground.
Anthony Kennedy: (40:57)
The truth, the truth cannot be held back. The humanity I saw in the midst of chaos, they brought the man from right over there and they ran him across the street, put him in the vehicle and took him into the hospital. My faith in humanity was challenged and tested. I didn’t feel God. God would not let this happen. Monday night, Sunday night, you would not let this happen, but it had to happen. So Tuesday night you saw the outside agitators come to my town who have no investment in building this town. I’m not scared of a protester. I’m not scared of a demonstrator. They are here to hold us accountable. That does not frighten me. The people that are here to destroy my town because they have an agenda that has nothing to do with love, that has nothing to do with building capacity. And I learned that phrase “building capacity” from Reverend Olin Arrington at second Baptist church. Ask me where that church is at. Ask me where that church is at. It’s in the 10th district. It’s two blocks away from where the man was shot.
Anthony Kennedy: (42:11)
You tell me I don’t care? I am angry, and you’re angry, and I get that. You’re frustrated, and I’m frustrated. I get that. The difference is I’m angry, frustrated, and I still have to be productive. Thank you for your time.
Speaker 10: (42:27)
Thank you to Alderman, Alderman Kennedy. We got George Bennett Jr. Peace in the streets. A young gentleman who is working on doing some great work to bring about peace in the streets, not only in Kenosha, but they got to be moving this initiative forward all over our state, I hope. Come right on up and take your time. Let’s give him your attention.
Gregory Bennett Jr.: (42:53)
My name is Gregory Bennett Jr, and Kenosha is in a dire need for action, not acting, but action. We’ve talked and talked and talked. Two days prior to the shooting I actually sent Facebook captures, snapshots, screenshots to the captain and the chief prior. I let them know, “Hey, this Kenosha guard, these Ku Klux Klans, these other people are going to be down there and they’re going to try to combat peaceful protest.” We understand that a curfew is a curfew, but everybody’s got to be on one accord. They could have prevented the shooting and we could have actually set up and combated that whole incident, but we didn’t wake up and listen to the city.
Gregory Bennett Jr.: (43:46)
So at the same time, the police as they’re shooting somebody seven times, there’s three officers. As an army veteran, we have rules of engagement. I have to show, shout, shove, shoot a warning shot, then I have to shoot the insurgent. So why is it the police being held accountable to the same thing the military is held to? You as a police officer should be held accountable just like a soldier at war. You will lock up a private for shooting someone, but won’t lock up a captain for shooting someone in the city that you are supposed to be protected.
Gregory Bennett Jr.: (44:23)
I know this Saturday the family’s going to have a march. August 29th, they’re going to have a march starting. Then next Sunday with fathers initiative for peace in the streets, we’re going to have something where we’re going to listen to the people. I know you’re tired of being talked to. You want to hear your demands, what laws you want to see change. And we’re going to put paper to pen, and then we’re going to start petitioning to get those laws actually in place because we’re tired of talking to you. We want to hear from you. We want you to know that it’s action, not acting. So we’re going to hold something at Lincoln and actually hear your voice, feed you and put pen to paper. We all die. The goal is not to live forever, but to create something that will. And if we don’t create unity now for this generation, the next generation won’t have a chance. You all have a good night.
Speaker 10: (45:16)
Thank you. Thank you. I want to take a moment to thank all of the speakers who were here today and all of you who came out to hear the speakers.
Speaker 15: (45:25)
Can we read the official protest from the family?
Speaker 10: (45:28)
I’m going to take a step back and allow the language of the family or Alvin Owens to be heard. Go right ahead.
Speaker 15: (45:35)
The official, I need all leaders, community leaders, listen up. The official justice for Jacob protests starting at 1345 52nd Street. That’s at the regimen Barbara Collective or The Collective is hosted by the Blake family. They need everyone to be there peaceful protesting. They want your support. Kenosha is going to commit to give it to them. All agencies.
Speaker 10: (46:03)
Speaker 15: (46:04)
Nonviolent. It is justice for Jacob. 2:00 PM. Saturday, August 29th, justice for Jacob. Black Lives Matter, starting at 2:00 PM, 1345 52nd Street, Kenosha, Wisconsin. This is from the Blake family. Thanks.
Speaker 10: (46:22)
Thank you. Thank you for that information. Again, I’m going to just say thank you to all of our speakers, all of the community leaders, and the community more than anyone for coming out today to take part in this press conference. Again, the NAACP in Wisconsin, we have a criminal justice reform plan that your senators will, those who do not have it will be getting it today. We are going to hold them accountable for making change in this state. I’m sorry that it had to come to this for us to get that leverage, but God has given us this moment and we’re going to take advantage of it. So with your help, we need all of you to step up and stay with us on this because it has to happen.
Speaker 10: (47:10)
Again, on behalf of my national president, Mr. Derrick Johnson, and the entire board of NAACP, one of the most important things you can do between now and November 3rd is to encourage everyone you know to go to the polls on November 3rd. We have a crisis on our hands. We have a bigot in the White House. We have a bigot in the White House who does not miss any words when it comes to supporting those people who tried to keep my people in slavery. We as African Americans and good people of justice and truth are fighting with African Americans and other brown people to stop those folks from putting us back in chattel slavery, because that is their goal. And let’s don’t ever forget that. No one here should forget what the purpose is for what’s happening in this country. You got a man that wants to take over this country, him and his buddy from Russia. And if we allow that to happen, shame on us. Thank you all for being here. And Jesse, we got an announcement to make.
Tavis Grant: (48:20)
Members of the media. Those of you who have been informed about the meeting with Reverend Jackson and the Blake family, we understand that the families asked us to reschedule. So there will not be a 1:30 meeting with a family in Milwaukee. So if you could help me out, you got press releases from me. You can help me out, spread the word to your other colleagues. We will update you as soon as that is rescheduled. As soon as it’s rescheduled, we will update you. We have your numbers in our phone bank. We have your email addresses and some of you we have cell phones. So we’ll update you as soon as it is rescheduled. But for right now, it’s postponed.
Speaker 16: (48:57)
Are you going to reschedule today or another day?
Tavis Grant: (48:59)
We anticipate a reschedule, if not today, sometime this weekend, but we want to respect and honor their space. They’ve been under quite a bit of pressure, and we want to do that. So help me spread the word. Thank you very much.
Speaker 10: (49:17)
Thank you all, again. Good day. Thank you to the press. If you don’t have any questions for me, good day and thank you. Come back again.
Speaker 17: (49:24)
Kenosha African American leaders. Kenosha black leaders, can we meet up here? Kenosha black leaders, let’s meet over here.