Like all of you, we watched the shooting of Kenosha father Jacob Blake by the Kenosha police with horror: in broad daylight, in front of his children and bystanders. Today we’ve learned he is paralyzed, his life changed forever.

As a community, we’ve watched the resulting anger, rage and grief act itself out on the small businesses, homes and neighborhoods we love, hurting more innocent people and also changing their lives forever.

We’ve also seen people who have no ties to our community, who have never walked our streets or shopped our businesses or enjoyed the beauty of our historic buildings, use the justified anger over this shooting as a means to promote their own ends.

And like all of you, we are heartbroken and very angry.

There is no doubt change needs to happen: locally, statewide and nationally. Equal justice for marginalized communities is a righteous cause, not just in policing but in housing, health care, economic and educational opportunities. We as individuals, as a party, as a community and our elected leaders, regardless of party affiliation, have all failed to achieve this for people who have cried out for help and relief for far too long. And we’re all paying the price for these failures.

As a party and as individuals who love our community, we will continue to help our small business owners pick up and clean up; and we will continue to advocate for justice for Jacob Blake, his family and our Black community members.

But real change needs to happen, and it’s going to be painful. It means holding ourselves accountable for not pushing hard enough and looking the other way. It means holding our police force accountable for their acts of violence in our community. It means holding rioters accountable for the damage they cause. It means holding racists responsible for their acts of racism, even those in elected office or positions of power. And it means holding all of our elected leaders accountable to enact meaningful change on multiple fronts, which should have happened before our community and our state erupted in flames over the police shooting of yet another Black person.

We are inviting the community to participate in a community forum on zoom Thursday night, August 27th at 7:00 pm with some of the leaders in our community to discuss actions we can take going forward to affect change for Kenosha.

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