Former first lady Michelle Obama said Friday she is “exhausted and frustrated” in a lengthy statement addressing the ongoing unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by police.
“These past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about what our kids are seeing every day in this country – the lack of empathy, the division stoked in times of crisis, the age-old and systemic racism that’s been so prominent this summer,” she wrote.
“Sometimes they see it on the news. Sometimes they see it from the White House Rose Garden. And sometimes they see it from the back seat of a car.”
Her message comes after Blake, a Black man, was shot in the back by police on Sunday as he tried to enter his vehicle in Kenosha, Wisconsin. His shooting became the latest incident to prompt outrage nationwide over racial injustice and police brutality.
Blake survived the shooting, but his father said he is paralyzed from the waist down, although he is unsure if the paralysis is permanent. Blake’s three young children were in the car when he was shot, a family attorney says.
Local officials have not discussed many details about Blake’s shooting but continue addressing the nightly protests in Kenosha, especially after two people at a protest were killed and a third was seriously injured this week.
Obama said that while she is “exhausted and frustrated,” she has been inspired by the protests.
“They will do something. They already are – opening eyes, rattling consciences, and reminding people of all backgrounds that this problem wasn’t solved earlier this summer and it won’t be any time soon unless we all make a change.”
Earlier this week, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, said they had spoken with Blake’s family.
President Donald Trump, for his part, took credit for what he described as “success” in Kenosha – furthering his law and order message in a Friday tweet while still not addressing the shooting of Blake.
Obama said in concluding her message Friday, “I want to encourage you all to keep using your bullhorns and your ballots to reform policies in our cities and our neighborhoods.”
“And I hope you’ll keep speaking out wherever you are – board rooms, class rooms, dining rooms, break rooms, locker rooms – because if enough of us do that, we’ll open up even more minds,” she continued.
“And maybe we can prevent the next name from being added to this seemingly unending list of tragedies.”
CNN’s Nicole Chavez, Christina Maxouris and Eric Levenson contributed to this report.