Ahmaud Arbery was murdered. It was a modern-day lynching. He was hunted down like prey and shot dead like wild game. There is no other way to explain it. It hurts. Although news of this story is just breaking nationally, the fact is that Ahmaud was gunned down in Georgia 10 weeks ago and no one has been arrested yet — even though police have had the video all along.
This is the same Georgia where the minimum wage is $5.15. The same Georgia that is ground zero for voter suppression in Black and Brown communities. The same state where, in the midst of a deadly pandemic our Governor reopened non-essential businesses including tattoo parlors, barbershops, and gyms. According to the CDC, 83% of Georgians hospitalized with COVID-19 during March were black, yet Black people account for 32% of the state’s overall population.
As a black male living in this state, I’m angered, frustrated, and to be completely honest — afraid. As a Marine Corps veteran, I don’t fear much, but I know that I could be Ahmaud on any given day or night. The reality is that canvassing or delivering signs could be as deadly as taking an afternoon jog. A turn down the wrong street; a complaint by someone looking out of their window; knocking on the wrong door or the simple fact of being dark enough to be viewed as a threat, in 2020, can still lead to a black person being hunted down and murdered in the street.
As a candidate running for Congress in Georgia, I’ve made social and civil justice one of the key parts of my platform because we must never lose focus on the fact that inequality, racism, and injustice are still alive and present. This gruesome murder reminds us of that.