“You hardly see people here anymore,” said Darrayal Jenkins, 40, as he passed several buildings that were burnt down in July. “It’s like a ghost town.
City officials have vowed to focus more on Uptown, planning apartment and business developments that will bring it back to life. Whether they go all the way has become a test of the city’s commitment to change after Mr Blake’s shooting – and how far it will go to heal a neighborhood that is home to so many African-American families who say ‘they are still on the fringes of civic life in Kenosha.
“They’re never going to rebuild it,” said Lonnie Stewart, 61, a former ironworker who lives in the neighborhood. He nodded in the direction of a wall of empty, barricaded storefronts. “All this time later, it still looks like this. “
“It shook the foundations”
Kenosha is not Minneapolis, or Portland, Oregon, or Chicago, bigger cities with long and familiar stories of protest, activism, and street marches.
So it came as a shock to much of the city, a former predominantly white industrial and automotive center whose voters lean towards Democrats, when unrest erupted on a Sunday in August last year. Police had arrived at an apartment in response to a domestic complaint and attempted to arrest Mr. Blake, who is black. As Mr. Blake, who was holding a knife, attempted to get into an SUV, one of the cops, Rusten Sheskey, who is white, grabbed him and shot him seven times in the back, leaving him collapsed to the ground . Americans, still reeling from Mr. Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis, reacted in horror after watching cellphone video of the episode, captured across the street.
Protesters gathered in the city by the hundreds, and on the third day of the marches, 17-year-old Illinois native Kyle Rittenhouse shot dead two people in a scuffle, authorities said; he is due to stand trial for murder in November.