To support the Arbery family and honor the 25-year-old, protestors across the country are taking to the streets.
Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was viciously murdered while jogging by two armed white men earlier this year. The perpetrators of the crime argued that he looked similar to a burglary suspect, which prompted their actions. After a video surfaced online of the men shooting the black man, a Georgia prosecutor sent the case to a grand jury. Many have wondered why the two men were not arrested and why it took a video to prompt judicial action. Therefore, in order to protest the gross legal misconduct, Arbery's supporters are putting on their sneakers and running 2.23 miles in his honor. The protest will take place on Friday, his birthday, CNN reports.
The protest will happen virtually owing to the ongoing pandemic. Not only will supporters run 2.23 miles, but they will also take videos and photos of themselves putting their sneakers on and post them on social media to say #IRunWithMaud. The virtual demonstration is being organized by Jason Vaughn, who was Arbery's high school football coach. "With [the outbreak] of course, we can't have a demonstration where we all come together," he said. "Any runner can identify with Maud, a guy who may have had a bad day, but he can go out there and hit the pavement and go jog." The number 2.23 represents the date that he died: February 23. Vaughn believes this is the best way for demonstrators to unite in his honor.
Meanwhile, Atlantic Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tom Durden formally requested that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) look into Arbery's death. In a video statement released on Wednesday, Vic Reynolds, the Director of the GBI, affirmed, "Our goal in every investigation is to seek the truth, and that's exactly what we intend on doing in this matter. This investigation must be done correctly, and therefore I must ask for a little of your patience. I'm confident that we will do justice in this matter." Nonetheless, few are hopeful. For black people in White America, Arbery's death is one of many that point to the country's systemic racism.
Several influential voices have spoken out since the video of his murder first surfaced on the internet. NBA superstar LeBron James, tweeting in support of Arbery, posted, "We're literally hunted every day [and] every time we step foot outside the comfort of our homes! I'm sorry Ahmaud (Rest in Paradise), and my prayers and blessings sent to the heavens above to your family!" Stacey Abrams, a Georgian Democrat, said in an interview with MSNBC, "It looks like vigilante behavior that should be charged and criminalized. And it looks like the Arbery family has been dealt a very sore hand of injustice."
According to reports, Arbery was simply running down a street when two white men, armed with guns, followed him in a pick-up truck. Once they caught up to him, they shot him several times. The men have been identified as 34-year-old Travis McMichael and his father 64-year-old Gregory McMichael. The Arbery family's attorney has called for their arrest.