African American Jogger Shot and Killed in own Neighborhood
Here we are again, in an oh-so familiar territory for African Americans. We know this scene all too well- an unarmed African American man is killed by an armed white man OR police officer; no charges are filed or arrests made at the time; days and sometimes weeks later video footage surfaces confirming what we already knew; prayers for the family; public outrage- yada yada yada.
THIS time its Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old African American man who was killed by two armed white men while he was jogging through his Brunswick, Georgia neighborhood on February 23. The assailants- Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, were neither arrested nor charged for the crime at the time. Recently, two months later, video footage surfaces of what we already knew- Gregory McMichael and his son are seen ambushing Arbery in the middle of the road as he attempts to run around their parked truck.
Again, a sadly familiar tune in our recent African American history.
Ahmaud Arbery's Murderer poses for a selfie with Georgia Gov. Kemp; Photo: Twitter
The scary part is that these assailants don’t live in a vacuum. They live and congregate amongst like-minded people. Gregory McMichael was a former investigator for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, as well as a cop with the Glynn County Police Department for seven years; the same department that was involved in investigating Arbery’s shooting. Is there really any wonder as to why there were no arrests or charges filed, or more importantly that it was two months before we as a community collectively found out about the crime?
That’s a rhetorical question.
It’s no secret that District 2 is changing. It has become a LOT more diverse in recent years with gentrification (that’s a whole different subject). Diversity is a good thing, however, if it improves our community. We welcome our new neighbors with open arms. It’s no big deal to see a white man running through the neighborhood, a neighborhood that’s traditionally been black. As an African American man, I don’t think to myself as they jog past me- to tackle them and gun them down in the middle of the street with my son. Why is it acceptable for white Americans to take black lives so easily? What’s even more troubling is that there aren’t more white Americans calling these actions out. If you are white and believe these actions are wrong- we thank you. We need more of you. When we were slaves, we knew that what was happening to us was wrong. We were living it. It wasn’t until the people who didn’t look like us realized that it was wrong and took the necessary steps to end it- that our condition finally changed.
Fast forward to the present, we as African Americans know that what is happening to us now is wrong. We ARE living it. We are at a point in which we can’t even jog in our diverse neighborhoods without being killed. What’s next? At what point will the people who don’t look like us realize that this is wrong and take the necessary steps to end it so our conditions will change?