Once again, Wisconsin and the nation must bear witness to the violent and inhumane treatment of our Black and Brown community. However, this time, the tragic shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, was not in Missouri, Kentucky, or Minnesota. This tragedy occurred in our state’s own backyard and is a stark reminder Black lives must matter in every state, in every city, and in every community.

My thoughts and prayers are with Jacob Blake and his family. As a Black woman, mother, and citizen of our great state, my heart goes out to Mr. Blake and his family as he makes his physical and emotional recovery from the lasting effects of this tragic ordeal.

The shootings of Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and other Black men and women highlight the moral imperative facing each of us. As citizens, we must remember our lives are intertwined by a deep-rooted connection based in humanity. We must work together and support each other as we collectively strive to eradicate the social and racial injustice facing people throughout our nation. By working together and supporting each other, we, as people, will be stronger.

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I thank Gov. Tony Evers for his statement encouraging Wisconsinites to show empathy to others and his call for a safe and peaceful expression of each individual’s First Amendment rights. But when individual voices are lifted in unison, change can happen.

I call upon the elders of our community to lead in healing. Right now, our communities need us the most. The late Congressman John Lewis shared, “You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time.” As leaders, we must ensure our young people have knowledge of and appreciation for their rich and authentic history. I am convinced, with guidance and support, our youth will lead us into a new future and a better version of humanity.

Carolyn Stanford Taylor has been Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction since 2019 and is the first African-

American to serve in that role.