It has happened again. Another Black man shot by police, this time in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Jacob Blake, 29, did not die, but according to reports the seven gunshots that tore through his back have likely left him permanently paralyzed. That is horrific enough. Making it worse, Mr. Blake’s three children were in the back seat of his car. They heard the gunshots, saw their father go down and now must confront the reality of his permanent injuries—and their own fears.
The larger issue here remains the same: Black Lives Matter. The unjust killings, shootings and harassment of Black men, women and youth has to stop. The use of force by police has to be reformed. It has to. This can’t go on.
At UNICEF USA we are also deeply concerned about the generational impact as Black children see people who look like them at the center of unconscionable violence. Even when gunshots do not hit them directly, the negative impact on how they see the world and their place in it cannot be overstated.
Children—whoever they are, wherever they are and in all circumstances—have the right to grow up feeling safe, protected and cherished. Mr. Blake’s children, like so many others, will need a great deal of support from their families, communities and from all of us to ever feel that way again.
This is why it is more urgent than ever for Congress to pass the Justice in Policing Act to help change police use of force policies and to increase accountability.
Top photo: This young girl at a rally in Coral Gables, Florida, is one of many children who turned out to protest the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died while being pinned to the ground by a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25, 2020. © Photo by Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP via Getty Images