Yesterday two men in Georgia were arrested for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. From the video posted, it appears that the two men had followed Ahmaud as he ran through a suburban neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia. From the accounts of the accused, they believed Ahmaud looked suspicious and were concerned with his being involved with a string of recent robberies in their neighborhood. So, when they saw Ahmaud jogging their first thought was that he had done something wrong and set off with a. .357 and a shotgun to confront him. A "citizen's arrest", they called it. So, now along with not being able to buy skittles and iced tea, sell CDs or cigarettes, sit on your couch eating ice-cream, committing a minor traffic violation, celebrating New Year's Eve, and a countless number of other incidents black men and women are not allowed to exercise while being black; because a running black person is a menacing and dangerous criminal who has clearly committed ALL. THE. CRIMES. To this I say BULLSHIT.
It is a shame that in America in 2020 black people are still being made out to be villains for living their lives. It is a shame that Ahmaud was shot in February of this year, but it wasn't until an onslaught of social media activity calling the authorities to action that arrests were made in the case. It is a shame that the reason these men are in custody is less about there being a video chronicling the killing, but rather the fact that WE saw the video chronicling the killing. Shame. Shame. Shame on you, America. Today would have been Ahmaud's birthday. The Friday before Mother's Day. And this Mother's Day his mother has to wake up knowing that America failed her son. That her son won't be calling to wish her a Happy Mother's Day or coming by her house to show her love. On behalf of Ahmaud many people took to the pavement today to celebrate his life through something he dearly loved--running. Social media has been bombarded with photographs with the hashtags #runwithmaud, #runwithahmaud, #irunwithmaud, and many other takes on the promise that we are running with--and for--him. My daughters and I took to the pavement to run 2.23 miles, signifying the date his life was mercilessly taken. We didn't run to win an Olympic race, but rather we ran to show our intent to stand in the gap for Ahmaud and all of the victims of senseless murder. We ran as three black women, unencumbered by the thought of our safety in that moment; and the cruel realities of the injustice that Ahmaud was served weighed heavy on us with each step. We ran not worried about being shot or hurt, and that in and of itself was a privilege. Again, we ran for and with Ahmaud and for every, single brown and black person who has been senselessly slain solely because they had the unmitigated gall to believe that running/walking/living/breathing/driving while black wasn't a menacing or predatory act. The nerve. Sounds ridiculous, right? Do you know why?? Because it is.
Being black is not a crime. for me it's an honor. I know the stock I come from. I know my history, and I'm proud. What I'm not proud of is America and/or its response to violence against black people. We have to do better. We DEMAND better. It is time to stop having to make hashtags, participate in marches, and crying endless amounts of tears all in hopes of one day truly realizing justice for ALL. Because, quite frankly, justice for all is just a saying found in the Pledge of Allegiance. Its application is fluid and arbitrary, at best. It is time to stop pretending that 'we don't see color', and instead to understand that it is our differences in color that make us so much more amazing and strong. It's time to celebrate our differences and not be frightened or intimidated by them. Something has got to give. Something.