Ahmaud Arbery was brutally murdered on February 23rd.
I’ve struggled to put into words the emotions I’ve been feeling about the last few days, and I didn’t want to speak much about it until now because I wanted to really think before I just shared how I felt.
I’ve spent this past week trying to understand all of my thoughts about what has happened following the release of the video. I remember hearing about the case briefly at the end of February and I was horrified but didn’t spend enough time advocating on the issue with midterms and COVID all coming at us. When I learn often about events like this, the first thing I usually do is just try to understand as much as I could and try to inform others about the issues that we as Black people face in America today. Racist attacks like these in our times are nothing new and have continued to happen since the inception of this nation. I am never, ever surprised that these modern lynchings happen, and I always feel the same horror every single time.
This past week, I was just scrolling through my Twitter feed and then I saw the video once. I never saw it after that and I refuse to see it again.
If I had to tell you what my worst nightmare is as a young Black man in America, what happened to Ahmaud is about as close to that nightmare as there is. While he was on a jog, two white men, along with another white man who filmed these events, hunted Ahmaud down and murdered him in broad daylight. Men who are connected through and through with law enforcement did this. And it took almost two months till an arrest and charges were made, in a state where there are no hate crime laws.
I did not cry when I saw the video; I was distraught when I saw the video. I was terrified to think and visually recognize once again that the deepest, darkest fears of mine continue to be a reality that I have to remind myself are never going to go away. It doesn’t matter where you live, it doesn’t matter whether you wear your Ivy League sweater when walking or jogging, it doesn’t matter your reputation to many, it doesn’t matter whether you are the ultimate law-abiding. In the eyes of America and the eyes of many, you are a threat to existing. And on February 23rd, Ahmaud was that perceived threat.