Submitted by Former State Representative Charles Booker
LOUISVILLE, KY— Following the guilty verdicts in the case against Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. for the senseless murder of Ahmaud Arbery:
“Too often, our lives are devalued and disregarded. We are seen as a deadly weapon, and given a death sentence for an act as innocent as an afternoon jog. While most times the system protects this grave injustice, today an important step was made toward accountability. We cry out the words “Black Lives Matter”, not as an affront to anyone else’s life, but as a plea for our humanity.
Today’s verdict is a reminder that Ahmaud Arbery’s life mattered. It is a reminder that justice and accountability should be more than just words.
The system that allowed Ahmaud Arbery to be targeted, tracked down, and murdered purely for exercising while Black tried to protect itself once again.
Accountability was not a forgone conclusion in this case, and every attempt was made to prevent it: from the the initial cover up and suppression of evidence to the intentional discrimination in the jury selection process that resulted in only one Black juror being allowed to decide the case, to the overt racial prejudice displayed in the Defense’s efforts to make Arbery the criminal relying on racist tropes and stereotypes.
On the heels of the Rittenhouse decision, this verdict is also a reminder that the moral arc of the universe is long but it can still bend towards justice.
The ultimate justice would be for Ahmaud to still have breath in his body and be preparing to enjoy Thanksgiving with his family. I grieve for his family, who have been robbed of the chance to hug their son ever again. I pray for their peace.
We still await justice. We long for it. And for justice, our work continues until everyone has the ability to safely jog in their neighborhood, peacefully sleep in their beds, lift their voices in pursuit of healing and change, and to pursue their dreams in every corner of our country.”
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