Saturday Rally in Eau Claire Will Protest Police Shooting of Jacob Blake
shooting last Sunday in Kenosha has led to protests across state, nation
A rally protesting the police shooting that left Jacob Blake of Kenosha paralyzed from the waist down is slated for 4:30pm Saturday at Randall Park in Eau Claire.
The protest is a collaborative effort by the Eau Claire Justice League, Uniting Bridges, United We Assemble, and Eau Claire Rise Up – a new social justice organization in Eau Claire – as a way to demand justice for Blake and show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot in the back by police on Sunday, Aug. 23. Subsequent demonstrations in Kenosha led to the fatal shooting of two people and the wounding of a third. Protests have also been organized around the country, including Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.
“We hope to bring our community together to better understand one another and grieve this tragedy together,” said Sophia Flood Elyafi, the social media chair for the Eau Claire Justice League. “Another Black man has been injured by the very people who are supposed to serve and protect everyone, no matter what. The officers chose not to do that. Our hopes for the protest are to bring light to the fact that instances of police brutality can happen anywhere, absolutely anywhere. A big city to a small town, racism runs rampant through our communities no matter how safe we may feel.”
The four organizations, though they have differing views on social justice and how to achieve it, work together for a common cause – or as Dr. Selika Ducksworth-Lawton, the president of Uniting Bridges, puts it: “Many hands make for lighter work.”
“You listen,” she said. “You learn to listen and you learn to compromise.”
The founder of United We Assemble could not be reached for comment, and the organizer of Eau Claire Rise Up declined to comment.
This family-friendly rally will begin at Randall Park with a few speakers, followed by a march to the Eau Claire County government center. (People interested in speaking at the event are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.) Organizers ask that protesters wear masks and maintain physical distance from each other to prevent the spread of coronavirus. They will provide hand sanitation stations, masks, and water for people who need it.
The Eau Claire Justice League is also running a donation drive for people in Kenosha. Some items they are requesting include personal protective equipment, first aid materials, bottled water, and non-perishable food. They also request more specific medical supplies such as pulse oximeters, portable blood pressure monitors, AEDs, gauze sponges, non-adhesive bandages, butterfly bandages, medical tape, and N95 masks. Donations can be dropped off at the Fire House tavern, 202 Gibson St., Eau Claire, on Friday and Saturday from 3-8pm.
“Our hopes for the future for the Chippewa Valley are to encourage our community to speak up and stand for everyone, regardless of who they are,” Elyafi added. “We want to see a community that is strong and does not accept these injustices.”
More information about the rally can be found on this Facebook event listing.