After video footage of a man being shot by Wisconsin police made its rounds over social media, it took only a few hours for people around the world to begin demanding justice for Jacob Blake. The 29-year old man was struck in the back by four out of a total of seven shots, ultimately him paralyzed from the waist down. Blake was believed to have been on the scene attempting to break up a fight, when police arrived and the incident escalated.
Initial reports mentioned that at the time of the shooting, Jacob Blake’s three children were present in the back of his vehicle. The reports described how the children looked on and screamed as they watched their father get shot in his back several times. Those heartbreaking details hadn’t been confirmed until now, as Justin Blake (the uncle of Jacob Blake) has come out and updated the world on the wellbeing of the children. Justin Blake told TMZ, that the kids are in desperate need of professional help, and the family is already looking for an appropriate therapist or team of therapists. He explained a sense of heightened emotions within the children, that the family fears will only get worse as times goes on.
Jason revealed that the children have not seen their father ever since the shooting on August 23rd, as the family believes it is far too traumatic for them to relive. The boys haven’t even been able to speak to their father through video call. The only people who have been able to see Blake, are his parents. Julia Jackson, the mother of Jacob Blake has been quite vocal since the incident. Most notably, she denounced the looting and violence during the protests. Asking that the public remain as peaceful as possible in the name of her son.
What is most heartbreaking about Jacob Blake’s children, is the fact that there are thousands of Black children just like them. Having to process trauma at such an early age, due to violence perpetrated against their family by the police. The story of Jacob Blake draws similarities to that of Philando Castille’s, a 32 year old Minnesota man who was fatally shot and killed during a traffic stop. Present in the vehicle where Castille received those fatal gunshot wounds, were his girlfriend and 4 year old daughter. A four year old, watching her father getting shot just from the backseat. Four years after Philando Castille’s little girl had to see her father's life taken away from him, Jacob Blake’s children had to watch from close range as their father's mobility was taken from him. This speaks volumes to not only how little the relationship between Black people and the cops have changed in four years. But also, about the ways in which Black children are forced to deal with the most absurd amount of trauma. It is pleasant to see the family of Jacob Blake taking this into consideration, and actively looking to get the kids help as early as they can. But what about the amount of Black children who operate with this trauma daily, and don’t have the access to counseling and therapy. The Jacob Blake situation has opened up a broader dialogue in so many ways.