Mark Ruffalo, a native of Kenosha, Wisconsin, spoke about the protests against racial injustice there following the police shooting of Jacob Blake — and how his hometown has been portrayed in the media — during an interview on The Daily Show Tuesday, September 15th.
Ruffalo said it was “shocking to see Kenosha in the news at all” as it’s usually a place that only gets covered when factories close. But he spoke about how powerful it was to see the peaceful protests for black lives swell there — and also touched on the unrest that followed and why he grew frustrated with the way the protests were being portrayed in news.
“That community is also facing generations of racial injustice and inequality,” Ruffalo said. “But the news I was seeing coming out of there didn’t feel honest to me. It felt salacious. Of course, they’re going to go for the worst things. And then, of course, you have the 17-year-old with the AR-15 being called from out of state to come and be a vigilante and basically shoot people. All of this was heartbreaking, and I was, honestly, Trevor, I was paralyzed. I didn’t know how to respond to it.”
With the pandemic keeping him from traveling to Kenosha, Ruffalo eventually linked up with the local activist group, Black Lives Activists of Kenosha, and spoke about participating in an Instagram Live with them in order to counter the narratives coming out of the media and President Donald Trump’s campaign. He also emphasized the work going on in Kenosha, like how a recent block party was used as an opportunity to administer hair cuts and Covid-19 tests, feed people, register voters and sign them up for the census.
“That’s what the community does, and that’s what’s beautiful about what’s happening in this moment,” Ruffalo said. “The silver lining of Trump is that all of these organizers who have been doing this work for years are all coming together, whether it’s from the environmental movement to the racial justice movement to the criminal justice reform movement. We’re all interconnected now, and we’ve never been that way.”