The Afternoon of February 23
May 23, 2020
On Sunday, Feb. 23, Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed African-American man, was jogging in a suburban neighborhood in South Georgia when he was approached by a pickup truck with Gregory McMichael behind the wheel and his son, Travis McMichael in the passenger seat. The altercation ended when Travis fatally shot Arbery, leaving him on the side of the road to bleed to death. According to an autopsy report, Arbery was shot three times.
Since Gregory McMichael had just recently retired in 2019 after spending many years as a police officer and investigator in the district attorney’s office, the first two local prosecutors recused themselves from the investigation due to their connection to McMichael. Therefore, neither of the McMichaels were arrested. After being questioned and interviewed by the police, Gregory claimed that Arbery resembled a man suspected of multiple burglaries in the area. However, it was reported that there had not been any break-ins in the neighborhood.
As time progressed and the pandemic began to receive all of the attention on the news, Arbery’s family and friends—although limited due to the coronavirus restrictions— continued to protest the brutal killing of Ahmaud. At this point, the news of the killing was confined to the city of Brunswick.
On May 5, however, everything changed. A video of the incident, filmed by William “Roddie” Bryan, was released by a Brunswick radio station. It was not long until the video went viral as it was uploaded to popular internet platforms such as Youtube and Twitter. On May 7, Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested 74 days after fatally shooting Arbery. They were charged with murder and aggravated assault.
In order to honor the life of Ahmaud Arbery and continue to bring attention to his killing, people all across the country began using the hashtag #IRunWithMaud. Additionally, people committed to running or walking 2.23 miles since he would have turned 26 on Friday, May 8. The 2.23 mile distance symbolizes the date he was fatally shot.
Members of the Black Student Union at Sage Creek quickly rallied to support Ahmaud and his family by participating in the run as well as sharing their experiences with racism in America.