-by Staff Reporter. photos below by Teo David /What Would Teo Do Photography
On an unseasonably cold Friday May 8th, entrepreneur, activist, leader and community builder Jamil Crews organized over 50 locals to not only celebrate what would have been the 26th birthday of Ahmaud Arbery, but to stand in solidarity with the call for justice in the wake of his brutal murder.
Ahmaud is the young African American man who was senselessly gunned down in Brunswick, Georgia by two White men while on a daily morning jog not very far from his own home. Crews especially organized people to come together and stand in solidarity with the national Call for Justice in Ahmaud Arbery’s name. “The color of our skin should not be deemed as a threat and we shouldn’t have to fear for our lives because of other people’s fears and insecurities.” Said Crews.
He took his activism to Delaware park creating a successful social distance run ( walk and some even rode bikes) for roughly 2.23 miles despite the chilly 32 degree temperature peppered with snow flurries. With all participants covid19 conscious and properly protected in masks to “Run with Ahmaud” also tagging their efforts as others have around the world with awareness hashtags #RunWithMaud #IRunWithMaud and #JusticeForAhmaud
A former runner turned occasional jogger, Crews is conscious of what any Black man – at any given time – including himself – can face in America. “I live in one of the most affluent zip codes in Buffalo and when I’m running in my neighborhood, I can’t help but to make sure my presence is not a threat to people who don’t look like me because I want to make it home to my wife after a workout. He shared that sometimes he crosses the street “if I see people coming toward me, or make sure I am running at a certain time during the day where I and others are visible. It sucks that I have to take these precautions, but that’s the unfortunate reality for Black men in America.”
In addition to motivating the runners through bullhorn communication, Crews used the opportunity to amplify accountability and called for our global community to use their voices, influence and platforms to speak out against injustice in our communities. “I was also calling on those who call themselves allies of the Black community to use their privilege to advocate for those who continue to be marginalized,” Crews concluded. “We must keep applying pressure until justice is truly served.” Follow this young leader on InstaGram @JamilCrews
– The “Lynching” –
Ahmaud Arbery’s parents, Wanda Cooper-Jones and Marcus Arbery Sr., remember their son as a vibrant and well-mannered young man, who had his entire life ahead of him.
They said that their 25-year-old went for a routine afternoon jog on Sunday, Feb. 23, through the Satilla Shores, Georgia, neighborhood that’s located a town over from where he lived in Brunswick.
After seeing Ahmaud Arbery, who is African American, Gregory McMichael alerted his son Travis McMichael, and the two men, both White, set off to confront Arbery, police said.
Armed with a shotgun and a .357 magnum handgun, respectively, and the Georgia laws — which allow civilians to pursue a suspect if they see a crime being committed and make an arrest until law enforcement arrive — the father and son hopped into their white pick-up truck and went after Ahmaud Arbery.
Ahmaud was shot and declared dead on the scene by the coroner.
After the shooting Gregory McMichael told police that there were “several break-ins” in the neighborhood and that he saw the “suspect,” according to police reports. During the following months, neither of the McMichaels were arrested or charged with, or in connection to, Ahmaud Arbery’s death.
But on May 5, a 28-second cellphone video leaked onto social media. The video showed Arbery getting shot and killed. Thirty-six hours later (and 74 days after the killing), officials with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations secured warrants to arrest the McMichaels, who are presently booked in a Glynn County.
But the arrests of McMichael and his son is just the beginning of the fight for justice.