Joe Biden told the people of Kenosha, Wisconsin, that the turmoil their city is experiencing can be part of an awakening that helps the US confront centuries of systemic racism and social discord. "We're finally now getting to the point where we're going to be addressing the original sin of this country, 400 years old … slavery and all the vestiges of it," Biden said Thursday at Grace Lutheran Church, where he met with community leaders after a private, hourlong session with Jacob Blake and his family. Blake, a Black man, remains hospitalized after being shot in the back seven times by a Kenosha police officer. "I can't say if tomorrow God made me president, I can't guarantee you everything gets solved in four years,” Biden said at the church, the AP reports. But "it would be a whole better, we'd get a whole lot further down the road" if President Trump isn’t re-elected.
Before traveling to Kenosha, Biden met in Milwaukee with Blake's family; Julia Jackson, Blake's mother, joined by phone. Blake called in "from his hospital bed," one lawyer said. Blake, 29, shared the pain he is enduring, and Biden commiserated. Biden later said Blake "talked about how nothing was going to defeat him, how whether he walked again or not, he was not going to give up," per CNN. A lawyer said Blake's mother led a prayer for his recovery, and Biden treated Blake "as a person worthy of consideration and prayer." At the church, Biden heard searing comments from community members. Porsche Bennett, an organizer for Black Lives Activists Kenosha, said she's "tired" at just 31 years old. "For so many decades we’ve been shown we don't matter,” she said. (President Trump visited the city Tuesday.)