A Year After Ahmaud Arbery’s Death, Has Justice Been Served?

A Year After Ahmaud Arberys Death, Has Justice Been Served?

Meghan Shelley, Opinions Editor

Ahmaud Arbery was just twenty-five years old when he was murdered by a group of white men in a Georgia neighborhood on February 23, 2020. Arbery was simply out for a jog, unarmed, and of no threat to anyone, when he was pursued by a father and son duo who then shot and killed him. It was not until two months after his death, and after great public outcry, that the murderers were arrested. Now, over a year later, it is important to reexamine this situation, honor Arbery’s memory, and ask why justice has not yet been served.

“We weren’t out here in Brunswick living in fear…We just understood that everything wasn’t all love everywhere we went,” is what Akeem Baker, Arbery’s best friend, had to say on the conversation’s he had shared with his friend on the subject of racism. Baker recalls how his friend was always supportive, and a person he could count on, referring to him as his “hype man” and “a real genuine person.” The two were childhood friends who had grown up together in the same apartment complex. Baker recounted how sociable and popular Arbery had been in school, saying how much he had admired his good friend for his confidence and humor. He commented that Arbery “ spoke and did everything from a place of love.” Baker also explained how selfless Arbery had been, “He would offer the shirt off his back and give you his last if needed…if (he) had $10 and I had nothing, he would make sure I had half of what he had.”

Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones recalled the last thing she said to her son, she had told him she loved him, to which he said back before leaving for his job that morning. Cooper-Jones described how her son was passionate about staying in shape and healthy, and that he hoped to become an electrician like three of his uncles had been. Before his death, Arbery planned on returning to school to get his electrician certification. About her son, Cooper-Jones stated, “He was just a really humble guy…Ahmaud was a good kid.”

While Arbery was certainly a kind, genuine, and good person, this does not negate the fact that no person should have to be exceptionally personable for their case to receive attention. This crime was almost certainly racially motivated, as the murderers had a history of racist behavior online that suggested they wanted to act violently towards people of color, and had used racial slurs multiple times before. No person deserves for their life to feel threatened, or to be put in danger, and when this does happen the perpetrators must be held accountable. This furthers the point that while many victims of these crimes seem to be some of the least deserving, absolutely no one, not criminals, not people without extraordinary life stories- simply no one, should feel attacked for their identity. Similarly to the killing of Elijah McClain, a case that received mass amounts of attention due to McClain’s bright personality and volunteer work. At the end of the day, any hate crime, racist action, or targeted attack must be met with the same outrage, whether victims fit our ideas of what makes a “good person,” or not. Arbery was certainly a bright light, and shall be remembered as such. There is currently no trial date set, leaving concerned citizens all over the country wondering when will enough be enough? And when will justice finally be granted to the victims of these malicious hate crimes?