Statement of Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on Jacob Blake Shooting
Jacob Blake and his family need and deserve our prayers. State investigators have reported that Jacob was shot seven times in the back by a police officer and his family reports that he may never walk again. We also know that his three young children were left traumatized as they watched their father nearly killed before their eyes. The Blakes have strong roots in Chicagoland and the Black community here. The family is held in high regard, to the point that two affordable senior housing facilities are named after Jacob’s late grandfather, a fair-housing activist and pastor at the historic Ebenezer AME Church in Evanston.
Chicago has spent too many years mourning victims of senseless violence. Some take note only when the circumstances are particularly horrific – the death of a toddler, the shooting of youngsters playing in a park. But week after week, the horrors add up, the ones we read about and those we don’t, and the pain builds.
Across the nation, people of all creeds and colors are demanding that things change. We cannot continue this way. Racism, inequity and injustice must stop. Gun violence must stop. We must ask ourselves whether we accept living in a nation where a 17-year-old has access to a semi-automatic rifle, which, according to police, he used to commit at least two homicides during protests in Kenosha, wounding a third person, in twisted acts of vigilantism. We must also pray for those victims, aged 36, 26 and 26, respectively, and their families. We are exhausted of saying “enough,” for that word seems to have lost its meaning.
Civic, religious and elected leaders in Kenosha and across the nation have rightly called for peace so that justice can be done. They also have called for unity, reminding us that we must take personal responsibility for healing the racism and violence that afflict our nation.
Jacob Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, said it best when she called for peace and healing. “Let’s use our hearts, our love, and our intelligence to work together to show the rest of the world how humans are supposed to treat each other. America is great when we behave greatly.”
It is time to say “enough,” and act like we mean it.