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Support for Ahmaud Arbery floods in from across the country as his murder trial begins

Arbery was lynched last February. As his trial gets underway, supporters have flocked from cities across the country to demand justice.

Support for Ahmaud Arbery floods in from across the country as his murder trial begins
Image Source: Jury Selection Begins In Ahmaud Arbery Murder Trial. BRUNSWICK, GA - OCTOBER 18. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Content Warning: Descriptions of racial lynchings

Earlier this week, jury selection proceedings were launched in the trial against three men charged in the lynching of 25-year-old Black man Ahmaud Arbery in coastal Georgia in February 2020. Hundreds of folks have rallied together in support of Arbery, whom many have termed a victim of racial injustice. The Transformative Justice Coalition (TJC), a Washington, DC-based group that seeks to "be a catalyst for transformative institutional changes that bring about justice and equality in the United States and abroad," has organized a "week of action" in his support. The group's planned activities will coincide with the jury selection, CNN reports.



 

"I love my people!" Marcus Arbery Sr., the victim's father, stated during a rally near the steps of the Glynn County Superior Court in Brunswick, Georgia, as jury selections were underway. "I love my Black people!" The group, comprising supporters who had traveled to Brunswick from across the country to support the family, shouted in response, "We love you too!" TJC bused in individuals from across the country, including from cities such as Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, New York, Philadelphia, Birmingham, and Atlanta. Over the course of the next week, the group, led by lawyers Barbara Arnwine and Darryl Jones, will continue to rally by the courthouse.



 

Peggy Neely Harris, 65 years old, is one of the TJC members who has made the week-long commitment. "We came all the way from several different states," she said. "We wanted to make sure we boarded the bus to come here and support Ahmaud Arbery and his family, and see what we can do to make a smooth transition into justice. We believe it will be done." She proudly wore a pin featuring late Congressman John Lewis. It also read, "Make good trouble." Harris explained with regard to her pin, "He left a legacy that we can't do anything but support." 



 

In addition to this, some members of the group visited the Satilla Shores neighborhood in Brunswick where Arbery was killed. The neighborhood is just less than two miles from Arbery's former home. Arnwine, standing on the same road Arbery ran, shared, "This young man ran this route all the time. They didn't know his name but they knew a Black man was running through the neighborhood. Meanwhile, other members appeared in front of the courthouse. Some held a banner with an image of Congressman Lewis. "We are fired up!" They chanted as they walked the grounds of the courthouse. "Can't take it no more!"



 

Lynne Whitfield, director of election protection at TJC, affirmed, "Ahmaud Arbery could've been anybody's child." She coordinates on-ground efforts for the coalition and has appeared at the courthouse every morning since Monday. According to her, the group has pledged its support to the Arbery family until a verdict is reached. Two of the organization's co-founders will accompany Arbery Sr. to court every single day. Several defense attorneys have complained about the protesters. An attorney for Travis McMichael, one of the three defendants, claimed that the demonstrations were "an unconscious attempt to influence any jurors." However, Chatham Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley responded by reaffirming that courthouse grounds were a public space. He asked the defense attorneys to draft a legal motion "walking [him] through the First Amendment rights [they] seek to infringe upon and how [they] intend to do this."



 

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