| May 13th, 2020
Justice Matters For All Black Lives
By: Amiya Abner
#BlackLivesMatter: a movement remaining strong in efforts to diminish what feels like a never-ending flood of racial injustice. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi are the three black women organizers that created the Black Lives Matter in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, in 2013. The project is now a “global network of more than 40 chapters” continuing community groundwork of constructing strategies to end the violent unjust treatment towards the Black community.
Even with the power to advocate for these injustices, it’s not universally understood how it feels to go through the pain of watching your own community slain in the streets with no remorse. We can’t walk home from a corner store wearing a hoodie. When asked to show our license we can’t comply and reach for it. As children, we can’t play cops and robbers. We can’t sell CD’s on the street or even go for a routine jog. It feels like the black community is unable to live. At the end of each fatality, it makes you look at the color of your skin, and just for a moment think that you are powerless —all because others have said and treated you as such.
When will the color of our skin stop determining whether we deserve to live or die?
In the past decade, social media has transformed into a place where videos of African Americans murdered in cold blood gain virality; this past week was no exception with the death of Ahmaud Arbery. The two suspects of the murder claimed they were making a citizen’s arrest and then responded in self-defense when Arbery reached for his gun.
As a young African American, saying that I fear for our black men encountering situations that lead to unjust murders would be an understatement. I scroll anxiously through social media each day in fear that another innocent black life has been taken just by seeing a video featuring a black male and law enforcement beside them.
Recently in the case of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, the graphic video of his murder has resurfaced to all media platforms. It can be heard in a 911 call that Gregory McMichael, and his son, Travis McMichael, spotted Arbery walking into a construction site.
ABC News reports that when dispatch asked if he was breaking in the house and questioning what Arbery was doing wrong, one of the males responded: “There’s a guy in a house right now, it’s under construction.” Following this first call, the McMichaels call again stating that “there’s a black male running down the street.”
After initiating contact with Arbery prior to the recording, one portion of iPhone footage shows Arbery running down the street as two trucks trail behind him. Another portion shows Arbery approaching the truck where Travis McMichael stands on the driver’s side holding up a shotgun while Gregory McMichael stands on the bed of the truck. Arbery then approached Travis McMichael grabbing and pushing away the gun being aimed at him. Arbery and McMichael got into a physical altercation where two shots were fired before a third one fatally killed Arbery.
The murder of Ahmaud Arbery took place on February 23. No arrests had been made until after the release of the video to the public via social media months later in May. The poor handling of the case by the original prosecutors and law enforcement agencies has led to Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr appointing Joyette M. Holmes the prosecutor. Holmes will be the first African American to serve as a district attorney and will be the fourth prosecutor that was assigned to work on the investigation of Arbery’s case.
Why did it take the public seeing this disheartening murder to arrest these two killers?
An African American man was hunted down and murdered in cold blood and law enforcement agencies waited two months to make any arrests of the suspects. If the public wouldn’t have seen the video, we may not have known Arbery’s name, much like the list of others that we have never heard of. All black lives lost should be served justice, not just those that garner the attention of the media.
The continuous victimization of African American people, whether by law enforcement or citizens, is not just some fictitious concept that we have rallied together to fight against. When are these unjust killings of unarmed black people going to stop? I am tired of shedding tears for all the lives my community has lost by bullets.