KENOSHA — After a round of much more peaceful protesting in Kenosha Wednesday night into Thursday morning, people are still working to clean up following multiple days of rioting and destruction following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Neighbors are now hoping and praying that calls for justice for Jacob Blake and for the end of racial disparities will remain peaceful moving forward.
As people paint boarded-up businesses with messages of hope and perseverance, the words “Kenosha Strong” echo throughout the downtown.
Still, the healing has just begun.
“I just came from Mississippi in preparedness for the hurricane. I thought that was bad until this. There just are no words. I just can't believe this is happening in my town,” said Beth Miller, who evacuated Mississippi overnight and drove 14 hours to her parents' house in Kenosha.
Miller was born and raised here and was emotional as she looked at the torched car lot near Sheridan and 59th.
“You think you know, you think you understand about what's happening in this town but you have to see it to believe it,” said Miller.
Despite a more peaceful night of protesting on Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, broken windows, shattered glass, burned cars, demolished buildings, graffiti, and vandalism, and boarded up businesses remain in every direction both Downtown and Uptown.
“I just want everyone to heal. I want to heal,” said Myles Lamping who was helping to clean up Uptown. He lives just blocks away from the destruction. He hopes continued peace as the call for an end to racial disparities continues.
“I know the protests were super calm last night. Hopefully, all this stuff here calms down now,” said Lamping.
That hope is also a prayer that was led by the Catholic priests of Kenosha.
“We love Kenosha, we feel that we are part of Kenosha, and we suffer with Kenosha, with all the people in Kenosha,” said Fr. Carlos Florez of St. Mark's Parish.
Archbishop of Milwaukee Jerome Listecki was joined by other Catholic leaders at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church to pray for the people of Kenosha and for an end to violence on Thursday morning.
The priests then toured some of the hardest-hit areas of Kenosha.
“We pray with you because we believe that we can work through together, through this situation,” said Fr. Florez.
Meanwhile, neighbors throughout the city are healing together. Painting boarded-up buildings, playing music in the streets and cleaning up the devastation.
“That's what a small town is really about is our community coming together,” said Ari Roberts, a Kenosha resident volunteering to clean up downtown.