Ahmaud Arbery was shot and murdered in a confrontation with Gregory and Travis McMichael. It took more than two months for the men to be arrested, along with the neighbour who filmed the death.
It took a year for Gregory and Travis McMichael to be convicted. It took another year (2/22/22) from the trial for federal courts to deem Ahmaud’s murder a hate crime.
Accountability. Justice. Why did it take two months?
I could focus on the worry a Black person might have when running—the safety of running. I could talk about safe spaces for Black runners within the running community; however, my main focus is to shed light on anti-Black racism and hold the system accountable. All systems.
“Ahmaud was a kid you can’t replace because of the heart he had,” said his father at the court house after his son’s killers were convicted of a hate crime yesterday in Brunswick, Georgia. “I’m struggling with that every day.”
I know this is an American story. However, anti-Black racism does not stop at the border. It happens in Canada. As a community, we are now having honest conversations about how systems are designed for some, and different for others. Let us not forget that the former District DA, Jackie Johnson, in Ahmaud’s case, covered up the crime and was later arrested.
Would the murders have gotten away with it if there was no video? Think about that for a moment.
It has happened many times before.
If there was no video, that was shared and amplified.
No running of 2.23 miles on Ahmaud’s birthday,
No attention from Alison Désir, engaging the running community to get involved.
I wonder, would the public push to seek justice and accountability have been so great?
I run to remember Ahmaud, but I’m also running as a reminder of the other stories of anti-Black racism. To amplify the stories of victims overlooked by a system designed to manage—and not hold others accountable because of the colour of their skin.
The story of Peter Spencer, a 29-year-old shot and killed in December, is a reminder of this. Peter Spencer’s family said he was in Venango County, Pennsylvania, with a friend on a camping trip when he was killed. A story that was brought to my attention by @Browngirloutdoorworld in an Instagram post.
I run because Ahmaud Arbery could not finish his run.
I run to shine a light on anti-Black racism. In Canada, and all over the world.
To follow Melanie Murzeau and the Black Runners of the GTA on Instagram, please click here.
Photograph by @dre.run.