KENOSHA, Wis. — After Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey shot Jacob Blake in the back five times, paralyzing him in August of last year, protests and riots began throughout the city of just over 100,000, putting Kenosha in the national and international spotlight.
During protests and riots in the days following the shooting, two people were shot and killed by armed counterprotester Kyle Rittenhouse, further sparking unrest and tensions.
For singer/songwriter Tom Goss, who currently lives in Los Angeles, the events sparked a strong emotional reaction more than 2,000 miles away.
“My heart was just breaking over and over again. Not only for the town of Kenosha, but for everyone watching who’d never heard of Kenosha except in passing on That 70s Show and now all of their associations were going to be very, very negative,” Goss said.
In the weeks following the tragic series of events, Goss wrote a song about his home, alongside Lake Michigan just an hour north of Chicago.
The song, ‘Cooler by the Lake’ contains lyrics born from childhood memories in a city that Goss still sees tremendous promise in.
“I say in the song, Kenosha is a place for the future,” Goss said.
The song and video, the latter of which was filmed in Kenosha, are just now being released.
“I wanted to do what I could to put out a different message of what Kenosha was and what Kenosha meant to me, and a lot of the people who’ve come through it,” Goss said.
Goss hopes his song can help mend perspectives of those who have only seen slices of Kenosha, nearly nine months since turmoil put it in the center of a national debate.
“Your home is your home forever, and the places and the memories it brings back are really important to you,” Goss said.