Jacob Blake Sr. gave a resounding speech at the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington. On Aug. 28, thousands celebrated in Washington, D.C. to remember the 1963 march where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech.
This year’s march was called “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” to bring attention to the ongoing police brutality that has taken place across the nation.
Days after Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by a White cop, Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr., spoke at the anniversary of the March on Washington and gave a powerful speech.
I truly did not want to come see you all here today for these reasons,” he stated, adding that he showed up to Friday’s March on Washington because “I have a duty.”
“We’re gonna stand up,” Blake Sr. said. “Every Black person in the United States is gonna stand up. We’re tired! We’re gonna hold court today. We’re gonna hold court on systematic racism…Guilty. Racism against all of us. And we’re not taking it anymore, I ask everyone to stand up. No justice, no peace!”
Along with Blake Sr., family members of Botham Jean, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, and Dontre Hamilton, were also present.
On Aug. 23, Blake’s shooting was captured by a cellphone. After responding to a domestic situation, police can be seen on the video speaking with Blake near an SUV. Witnesses told authorities that Blake was attempting to break up a fight between two women.
At some point during the conversation, Blake walked away as officer Rusten Sheskey grabbed the back of his shirt and ordered him to the ground. Blake opened his car door, and Sheskey fired seven shots, which hit Blake in the back.
Video of the shooting eventually went viral, leading to protests in Wisconsin and across the nation. Sheskey and other officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave.
View video of Blake Sr.’s speech below:
"There are two systems of justice in the United States. There's a white system, and there's a black system"
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) August 28, 2020