EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – An Eau Claire native is walking from Kenosha to Minneapolis following the shooting of Jacob Blake last month and the death of George Floyd earlier this year. First News at Nine’s Zach Prelutsky has more on what the man hopes to accomplish during his two-week walk.
For more than a week, Jared Choate has used his feet to make a stand. Choate is walking from Kenosha to Minneapolis in support of peaceful change and in support of Black Lives Matter.
Kelly Choate, Jared’s Wife said, “Walking or running has been a way for him to express himself in the past but also when Jared decides that he’s going to do something I don’t really get in the way of that.”
Kelly and her husband Jared say the journey started in Kenosha last Monday. As Jared walks, the couple makes a point to meet with as many people as possible, including those vying for the state assembly and with local community members.
Jared Choate said, “The work is done when we talk and when we communicate and so I do feel like whatever we’re doing we just hope to engage anyone else to embark on their own conversations and have these daily dialogues with their friends and their peer groups,” said Choate.
“To take an active role in their community and help find ways to better not just themselves but their neighbors and those around them.”
Before the walk began last week, Choate says he was not anticipating doing this protest walk. He was planning on celebrating the ten-year anniversary of his lifelong dream of running 3-thousand miles across the country. While this journey has a different meaning, Choate says walking in protest is the only way to celebrate his past accomplishment.
“It felt purposeful and empowered whereas now this is kind of an extension of us feeling like we’re not sure what to do, we do have a sense of powerlessness but we’re going to go use our voice to go walk and be loud for love and encourage others to do the same,” said Choate.
Choate averages around 30 miles a day, while his wife drives the couple’s car full of supplies and everything else the two may need during the two-week journey.
“We all actually have the ability to take that first step, it’s all in us and he’s just literally doing it on his feet. Trying to make noise just by protesting and walking,” said Kelly Choate.
The pair hope the walk will inspire others, even if it is something people can do from the comfort of their own home.
Kelly Choate said, “Something very basic and simple that people can do is call your representatives. Make sure that you are registered to vote, make sure that your friends are registered to vote, and vote.
Walking for a conversation and for change. Kelly and Jared hope to make it to Minneapolis and the George Floyd Memorial by the end of the week, a total of around 350 miles.