KENOSHA, Wis. - Jacob Blake's uncle, Justin Blake, testified Thursday, Feb. 25 in front of a legislative task force on racial disparities.
The group has a goal to draft new laws to make Wisconsin more equitable. Thursday's hearing went on the road to Kenosha -- where Jacob Blake was shot seven times by a police officer in August 2020.
In September 2020, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden visited the same Kenosha church where Justin Blake spoke Thursday.
"Although they're far away from agreeing on stuff, they are in the same room and that’s hope," Justin Blake said. "You got to start with a mustard seed like pastor said, we’re going to be the fertilizer, we’re going to be the rain, and we’re going to keep showing up to make sure that positive things come from this, that our community’s voice is being heard through us and that good things will come."
Justin Blake speaks at a racial disparity task force hearing in Kenosha
The task force missed an original goal to create legislation for the beginning of 2021.
"The biggest thing is we don’t want to short-circuit the conversation that we’re having at the task force level," said Assembly Leader Jim Steinecke, co-chair of the task force. "We want to make sure all voices are included, so that does take some time."
Rep. Jim Steineke
In an email acquired by Up North News, Steineke predicted leading the task force might be a "political loser" and wrote that Republicans could use the task force to make inroads with voters.
"My main goal in that email was to describe what I saw as the political analysis of the task force, but the work that we’ve been doing is incredibly important," Steineke said.
Kenosha community leaders said they will keep showing up and speaking out until there is action.
"This thing could grow into something. We never know. We have to be positive before negative," Justin Blake said. "If it doesn’t work out, we’re going to stand up and say when it doesn’t work out. But let’s give it a try."
Steineke told FOX6 News that the plan is to finish their work around the end of March -- then create recommendations with legislation to flow quickly after that. He added that he doesn't draft legislation to sit on a shelf.
The Kenosha County district attorney decided not to charge Rusten Sheskey, the officer who shot blake, stating that Blake had a warrant against him, was armed with a knife, struggled with police, and attempted to get into a car with a child inside.