I’m finding it difficult to unearth, let alone compose the right words. The words that will spur the desperate need for internal dialogue while also accurately capturing the turmoil we should all be experiencing. But as with most things in life, when it’s hard, in fact especially when it is hard, should be a guiding light that the work ahead is worth the difficulty.
If you haven’t heard the name Ahmaud Arbery by now, you will today. Arbery, a 25-year-old black male was accosted and murdered by two white males while he was out jogging. A man was murdered while he was out taking a run. I’m not going to explore the explicit and sickening details, because as a human, we should all do our part to seek out the truth. However, in your hopeful quest for truth and more information, I strongly urge you not to watch the video. I have been warned myself and reading the details of the video was more than enough to turn my stomach without having it visually seared into my brain.
As a human, it should always be heartbreaking and outrageous when another human is murdered. As a fellow human, regardless of age, religion, sex or race, it should ALWAYS impact us when another human being is senselessly killed.
My heart is so saddened that amongst the universal grief that should be enveloping us all, that people are arguing opposing sides. Explaining away, justifying a senseless and brutal crime. Ahmaud Arbery may not look like me, but he shouldn’t have to. He shouldn’t have to remind me of anyone black I’ve encountered in my life in order for me to feel a connection to him. We shouldn’t have to picture him as somebody’s son, somebody’s brother, cousin, relative, friend, teammate, or community member to be incensed by this unnecessary and heinous murder.
Ahmaud Arbery IS all on his own. Or he was because he was selfishly and ignorantly taken away too soon. I challenge you, to truly peer inside yourself and ask the question that needs to asked: are you moved in any way by this killing?
If your honest answer is yes, then do your part and open up the dialogue with others. Share the name Ahmaud Arbery to bring this darkness into the light. Speak his name and continue to do so until justice is served. Speak his name and continue to utter it because his life mattered. Black lives matter.
But if your honest answer is no, then a deeper question must then be asked: why not? Why are you not affected? Or perhaps why are you not affected enough to act?
I pray for the Arbery family and all those impacted by this tragedy. I pray for the black parents that have yet another reason to worry about the safety of their black children. I pray for the South Georgia community who are bleeding at the loss of a loved one and are so desperately deserving of long, 74 day-overdue justice and closure.
I don’t know exactly how to extinguish these types of horrific tragedies. However, right now in this moment, I’m speaking up in the best way I know how. And so I’ll leave you with this. A well-known Edmund Burke quote that rings especially true here;
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Edit: Since I first drafted this post, the father and son that took Ahmaud Arbery’s life have been arrested. And while this is good news, it’s difficult to celebrate an act that took 74 days to happen. An action that came only after so many people spoke up, took action and spread the news. But it shouldn’t take this long for what’s right. For the absolute bare minimum to occur. I pray that no other family or community has to endure the heartbreak of losing a loved one and then having to plead with those that are supposed to protect and defend you to do what’s right. I pray we do better, collectively.