Oprah calls for justice after police shooting

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Oprah Winfrey is the latest celebrity to call attention to racial justice issues and show support for Jacob Blake, a Black man shot by police Sunday in Wisconsin. 

Graphic video that circulated online earlier this week showed Blake walking toward his car, followed by an officer who had a weapon drawn. Blake opened the car door and reached into the vehicle, and an officer tugged on his shirt. At least seven gunshots could be heard. The Wisconsin Department of Justice identified the officer who shot Blake as Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department and said no other officer at the scene fired a weapon. Ben Crump, the attorney representing Blake’s family, said Blake’s three sons were in the car when Blake was shot. 

“As his sister, Letetra (Widman), so eloquently said: When you #sayhisname, say all of them,” Winfrey wrote in an Instagram post Wednesday, sharing a video of Blake’s sister, who pleaded for change, not “pity” at a press conference Tuesday. “Here we are again, demanding justice for yet another Black man. Something’s got to change. What will it take?”

The media mogul shared a graphic that read “Father. Cousin. Son. Uncle. HUMAN. Jacob Blake,” echoling Widman’s sentiments. 

Winfrey forewent appearing on the cover of her namesake magazine for the first time in 20 years, instead featuring a photo of Breonna Taylor, the young Black woman who was fatally shot by police who stormed into her home on March 13.

The September issue, available now, is focused on anti-racism and white privilege. According to Lucy Kaylin, editor in chief of “O” Winfrey and the O team began discussions about how the brand could raise awareness about police brutality against Black Americans following the death of George Floyd, the 46-year-old Black man who died May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck.

More: Kevin Hart, Tracee Ellis Ross, more stars show support for Jacob Blake after police shooting

Teams from the National Basketball Association, Women’s National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer all boycotted games Wednesday in protests against racial injustice.

Tracee Ellis Ross commended the leagues for using their platform to raise awareness in a virtual appearance Wednesday on “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” stressing the importance of everyone voting to ensure their voices are heard. 

“It requires all of us collectively to use our voices, our hands,” Ross said. “Voting is a part of it, protesting is a part of it, being clear about the systemic change that we want to occur is part of it. We all have a part in this and it can’t just be one person or the other.”

She added: “Jacob is your brother as he is my brother. We cannot disregard for human life or Black humanity, Black bodies, Black life, to be brutalized and violently disregarded in that way. And if we all don’t stand up, it won’t change.”

Gabrielle Union also applauded WNBA players who took a stand, sharing video of the Washington Mystics, who wore t-shirts that spelled out Blake’s first and last name and displayed a symbolic seven bullet holes painted on the back of each one. 

“Today and everyday I celebrate and am inspired by the leadership and activism of the women in the @wnba,” Union wrote Wednesday. “Thank you all for being the change we want to see. You never let up in the quest for equality, accountability and real radical change. Please, let us lift them up in the light of goodness and hold them there.” 

Jennifer Aniston shared a video to her Instagram story of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers during a press conference Tuesday, in which he lamented “we keep loving this country and this country doesn’t love us back.” The actress also shared resources on how to ensure you’re registered to vote, how and where you can vote early and when polls open. 

Dwayne Johnson announced he would be postponing a planned launch for a partnership with Under Armour “out of respect for Jacob Blake and his family.” 

“Unbelievable we’re here again,” he tweeted. “Shot 7xs. In the back. In front of his kids. There’s no progress without humanity.”

Contributing: Jordan Culver, USA TODAY and Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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