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Support for this NPR podcast and the following message come from Kuman, who is math and reading program and gives kids the best possible foundation in math and reading. See how during Cushman's two week free trial this fall, details at Kuman Dotcom Kuman where smart kids get smarter. Things were quieter in Kenosha, Wisconsin Wednesday night. According to reports, police and so-called militia members mostly stayed away from protesters.
There were some reports of law enforcement putting people in unmarked vehicles the way we've seen them do in Portland and other cities after police have. This video from a group called Riot Kitchen, they give food to protesters, was posted on Wednesday to say they have no place on the ground because the local paper and then the reaction to what happened in Kenosha spread way beyond the streets of Kenosha with pro basketball, baseball and tennis players all saying in the last 24 hours they were going to play.
Changed over the past four months have shed a light on the ongoing racial injustice facing our African-American community here, Sterling Brown and George Hill from the Milwaukee Bucks last night, despite the overwhelming pleas for change.
There has been no action. So our focus today cannot be on basketball when we take the court and represent Milwaukee in Wisconsin. We are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable. We hold ourselves to that standard. And in this moment, we are demanding the same from lawmakers and law enforcement. We are calling for justice for Jacob Lee.
Coming up, the reaction to another black man shot by police from pro sports to Washington, D.C., where a major protest is planned for Friday. It says. Consider this from NPR. I'm Kelly McEvers.
It is Thursday, August 27th. Milwaukee is less than an hour from Kenosha. The city's NBA team, the Milwaukee Bucks, was the first to say Wednesday night they weren't going to play.
That was an even bigger deal when you consider it was a playoff game, that the Bucs had the best regular season record in basketball this year and that they're trying to win the team's first championship in 49 years and demand. Here's one of their demands read by George Hill last night.
It is imperative for the Wisconsin state legislature to reconvene after months of inaction and take meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality and criminal justice reform.
Soon after, more NBA games were postponed, followed by a few Major League Baseball games and the WNBA.
Just trying to put everybody in mind, talking to our team and talking to other teams. We want everybody to feel like they were supportive and understanding that this isn't just about basketball.
That's Ariel Atkins' from the Washington Mystics.
Every member of the team wore a T-shirt with what looked like seven bullet holes in the back, representing the seven times Jacob Blake was shot in the back by Officer Rustin Chesky in Kenosha.
We need to understand that when most of us go home, we still are blessed in the sense that our families matter.
On TV Wednesday night, in place of the games that weren't played, coaches, players and commentators just talked about what it feels like to be black in America and to watch what happened this week in Kenosha today.
Well, yesterday, you know, I was sitting there and I started crying.
This is former player now commentator Robert Orri. And it's hard to tell your 40 year old son. Yeah, but I worry about him when he walks out that door. I have a 21 year old son.
I worry about him and Chris Webber, another former player.
I have a God son that has autism. And I just had to explain to him why we aren't playing. I have young nephews and I've had to talk to about death before they've even seen it in a movie. If not now, when if not during a pandemic and countless lives being lost. If not now, when.
It's striking to watch the sports world react this week when you consider how different things were just a few years ago, moments ago, as the Rams came out of the tunnel, Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt acknowledged the events in Ferguson and they were joined by the rest of the receiving corps back in 2014, two years before Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem.
NFL players from the St.. Louis Rams took the field with their hands raised over their heads like hands up, don't shoot.
This was just a few months after Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri.
Have you seen this? Five players from the St. Louis Rams took to the field with their hands up an apparent protest and show of support for the Ferguson protests.
This was all over cable news. A St. Louis police union petitioned the NFL to discipline the players and there was even talk about whether that would happen. Ultimately, it didn't. But the NFL, which this season plans to end racism on its playing field, expressed no support for the players cause at the time.
So many people have reached out to me telling me they're sorry that this happened to my family. Well, don't be sorry because this has been happening to my family for a long time. Jacob Blak, sister, LA Teacher Weidemann talked about Michael Brown and others to reporters this week, Falardeau, Mike Brown.
Sandra, this has been happening to my family. I haven't cried one time, I stopped crying years ago. I am numb, I have been watching police murder people that look like me for years. Her brother, Jacob, is still in critical condition. He's had several operations. The odds of him walking again is, you know, it's not very probable. That's the lawyer for the Blake family, the Ivory Lahmar. He talked to my colleague, Audie Cornish, about how police should be held accountable not just for Jacob's killing, but also the killing of protesters and about how Jacob's family is doing.
You know, dealing with the situation with Jacob is in itself unnerving and in a protest in the fight for equality, while citizens try to advocate and exercise their constitutional rights to do so and end up dead at the result of exercising those privileges, it brings America to a new low. You know, it's hard.
And the backdrop to this is the Wisconsin governor, Tony Evers, has supported the authorization of members of the National Guard to come to Kenosha to help law enforcement.
You know, I think that will probably hurt more than they help the situation. The people not only in a city of Kenosha or in the state of Wisconsin, they're calling for a dialogue. There needs to be some type of change. Then it happens from the top down. It happens from the chief of police in Kenosha County standing up and saying these officers were, you know, rogue. They did not follow the standard operating procedures. This is not the way we train our officers.
And as a result, you know, we're looking into taking disciplinary action as a result of that. That's the type of action that will calm these type of situations.
Blake was shot essentially in front of his children. What kind of condition are they in right now? How is the family coping?
You know, I'm thank you for for asking that question. You know, in these situations, the children overwhelmingly have kind of been overlooked. You know, they were in the back seat of that of that vehicle. They experienced this firsthand. And they are having some real issues. I can tell you that they're going to need very substantial counseling and and help to kind of deal with these things. You know, No. One from dealing with the emotional distress from what they personally seen and then also from seeing their father, you know, the leader of their family.
You know, Jacob was a family man. He was very involved in his his children's life. In fact, as we as we know, on that Sunday, he was there was a birthday party for one of the his sons in which he was kind of orchestrating.
And, you know, it's very painful. The Ivory Lahmar talking to my colleague Audie Cornish, August 28, 1963, was the day Martin Luther King delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech at the March on Washington Friday on the 15th anniversary of that march. Protesters are planning a different one with a different name. NPR's Cheryl Corley talked to some of them in Chicago in 1963, more than 200000 demonstrators showed up for what was billed as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
And Willie Stovall didn't get a chance to participate in the original march in 63. I was on a 15 and you know, you got over your pants so I couldn't go.
I stood outside the district office of Illinois Congressman Danny Davis talking with him and staffer Tiamat Romero about the upcoming march. Stobo says since the Civil Rights Act and the voting rights bill were product of the 63 March, he was excited when he learned Davis planned to take several busloads of people to D.C. for the 2020 March, a march spearheaded by Al Sharpton, National Action Network and a number of partners, including the NAACP. He was the first one to sign a bill when he was the first one coming out.
I just couldn't turn it down. covid-19 concerned. Sideline the bus trip. Stovall will attend the March Birchley and hear speakers including Martin Luther King, the third and family members of people whose death spurred massive protests George Floyd, Eric Garner and others. Congressman Davis was 22 during the historic march.
There was so much excitement and fervor in the air.
Davis says that was true even though he didn't go to D.C.. The focus then was on civil rights and jobs. And Davis says nearly 60 years later, there's still an urgent need for jobs and opportunity, economic worth. For many African-Americans now when businesses are flourishing. But I think every demonstration, we do them with the idea that change is going to come. Davis staffer Tehama Romero wasn't alive in 1963, but says she learned at a young age about the march and The King's Speech.
She says on the turmoil this year, including the police killing of Brianna Taylor. And just this week, the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, makes the 2020 march sadly relevant.
People still want to have a dream that they can walk down the street and not be shot in the back. That's what we still hope of for the official name of Friday's gathering is called the Get Your Knees Off Our Necks Commitment March, a direct reference to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. The focus is on the criminal justice system and on support for voting rights measure renamed for the late Congressman John Lewis, who was a student leader and a speaker at the 1963 march.
Carl Ellis, a vice president of the NAACP West Side chapter in Chicago, will join the 2020 version virtually.
My question is one, isn't it time for a march? I mean, we're still fighting the same battles that our brothers and sisters 50 years ago were fighting for. What was happening with the police, what's happening in society in general?
In 1963, A.. Philip Randolph, the trailblazing activist behind the march, seemed to recognize what future activists might feel in his speech. He called the march the first wave of the civil rights revolution. He said demonstrators would return to Washington in ever growing numbers until there was total freedom.
Decades later, it's a promise that marchers say they must keep. NPR's Cheryl Corley additional reporting in this episode from our colleagues at All Things Considered. For more news, download the NPR one app or listen to your local public radio station. Supporting that station makes this podcast possible. I'm Kelly McEvers.
Will be back with more tomorrow. Support for this NPR podcast and the following message come from Kuman, who is math and reading program and gives kids the best possible foundation in math and reading.
See how during Cushman's two week free trial this fall, details at Kuman Dotcom Kuman where smart kids get smarter.