Scott Olson/Getty Michelle Obama
The former First Lady, 56, shared a lengthy statement on Twitter on Friday afternoon expressing her exhaustion and frustration — as well as her hope upon seeing the continued protests across the country.
"I'm just devastated by the shootings in Kenosha," Michelle began. "First, the seven shots from a police officer's gun at Jacob Blake's back as his children looked on. Then, two nights later, the bullets that killed two protestors, with a young man only 17 years old arrested and charged with homicide."
Blake, 29, was shot on Sunday by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after trying to break up a fight. While the father of six survived, he is now paralyzed from the waist down. Protests against police brutality took place throughout the week, and two protestors, Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, were killed by a 17-year-old who opened fire on the demonstrations Tuesday night.
"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," the mother of two continued. "Sometimes they see it on the news. Sometimes they see it from the White House Garden. And sometimes they see it in the backseat of a car."
Michelle said that like "so many," she is also "exhausted and frustrated right now."
"It's a weight that I know Black and Brown people all across the country are shouldering once again. And we're often left wondering how things will get better," she wrote. "But then I see the swift and powerful protests that have risen up around the country — from the world of sports to the folks standing up peacefully and purposefully in their own communities — and I see the glimmers of something different."
I’m just devastated by the shootings in Kenosha. And I can’t stop thinking about what our kids are seeing every day—and our obligations to them going forward.— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) August 28, 2020
To find out how you can take action, check out the @ObamaFoundation's resources at https://t.co/gyOVs4Nxyb. pic.twitter.com/0CWfNj2ncL
The Becoming author said that while protests and other actions will not erase Blake's paralysis or his children's trauma at seeing their father shot by police, "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."
"And that is who I am appealing to today, and who we all must appeal to in the months ahead — to those who look like us and those who don't; to those who vote like us and those who don't; to those who've experienced this kind of trauma and those who haven't," she said, encouraging people to speak up and not to let "the oppressed to fight these battles alone."
"So I want to encourage you all to keep using your bullhorns and your ballots to reform policies in our cities and our neighborhoods," she said. "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. And maybe we can prevent the next name from being added to this seemingly unending list of tragedies."
Michelle concluded by sharing resources from the Obama Foundation to help stay informed and find steps to take action.
As people exercise their right to protest all across the country––let the undeniable paths of our progress be a guide going forward: peaceful, sustained protest; strategic, committed organizing; and purposeful, overwhelming participation at the ballot box.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 28, 2020
"And make sure you're registered to vote — and if you think you're already registered, take a minute to confirm that your information is updated," she wrote. "Sending so much love and prayers to the families of those we lost and those whose lives are forever changed."
"As people exercise their right to protest all across the country––let the undeniable paths of our progress be a guide going forward: peaceful, sustained protest; strategic, committed organizing; and purposeful, overwhelming participation at the ballot box," the 44th president wrote.