Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris on Monday met with Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old Black man who was shot in the back seven times by a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer. Marking her first solo and in-person campaign trip since accepting her party’s nomination last month, Harris "had an inspirational and uplifting" hour-long visit with Blake and his family.
In a statement, Benjamin Crump, the family's attorney, revealed that Blake joined the meeting by phone. The 29-year-old remains in a Milwaukee hospital following the shooting, which has left him paralyzed from the waist down. Crump previously revealed that Blake has also been left with holes in his stomach, an arm injury and damage to his kidney and liver. Most of his colon and small intestine had to be removed.
"She spoke individually with each family member about how they were handling the trauma and urged them to take care of their physical and mental health," Crump said of the visit. "In a moving moment, Jacob Jr. told Sen. Harris that he was proud of her, and the senator told Jacob that she was also proud of him and how he is working through his pain. Jacob Jr. assured her that he was not going to give up on life for the sake of his children."
During the meeting, which followed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's last week, Harris also "discussed the policy changes that she" and Biden will seek should they be elected to office following the upcoming November election. This includes the Justice in Policing Act, which seeks to reform police practices and law enforcement accountability. It had been proposed following the death of George Floyd, the unarmed Black man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck, and it passed the House of Representatives in a vote of 236-181 in late June. Other policy changes Harris and Biden are looking at is "implicit bias training, to make things better for all Americans." Crump said that Harris encouraged Blake and his family to "continue to use their voices even through their pain to help America make progress to end systemic racism."
Speaking later, during a tour of an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers training facility in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, Harris told reporters that Blake's family is "incredible," according to CNN. She added, "and what they've endured, and they just do it with such dignity and grace. And you know, they're carrying the weight of a lot of voices on their shoulders."
Harris' visit to Wisconsin followed that of both Biden and President Donald Trump. While Biden met with the Blake family, Trump did not, instead opting to survey the damage in Kenosha and "thank Law Enforcement and the National Guard for a job well done."