On November 24th, 2021, all three white men who chased down and killed Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, were found guilty of murder. After the verdicts were read, The Associated Press interviewed his mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, reports The Philadelphia Tribune.
Ahmaud Arbery Was Killed In February of 2020
After a year-and-a-half, one mom finally sees justice.
Ahmaud Arbery’s family and friends described him as a man who often smiled and lived to make others happy. TONIGHT, Arbery's family reflects on his life and his mom's quest for justice.#ABC2020 premieres at 9/8c on @ABC. Stream next day on Hulu. https://t.co/MB3svEowLg pic.twitter.com/KT7OBGeZUH
— 20/20 (@ABC2020) November 26, 2021
In February of 2020, Ahmaud Arbery went for a run through his neighborhood to clear his head. Three white men spotted him running, and decided to chase him down. They alleged that they’d seen surveillance footage of Arbery connected to recent burglaries in the area.
When Arbery reasonably ran from three white men chasing him with guns, they ran him down, cornered him, and shot him three times with a shotgun at close range. He was unarmed and simply out for a run.
All three men have been found guilty of all 23 charges filed against them and face life in prison. With additional sentencing expected from a federal hate crimes trial in February.
A Mother Reflects On Fighting for Justice
Quite simply, Cooper-Jones reflected on having to spend another Thanksgiving without her son. Additionally, she spoke of the other moms of murdered black bodies doing the same.
Mother of Ronald Greene, a man from Louisiana who was beaten, put in a chokehold, and killed by state troopers in 2019, sat beside Cooper-Jones as the verdicts were read. Her son’s death is still under investigation.
Shortly after Arbery was killed, Trayvon Martin’s mom called Cooper-Jones. Martin was visiting relatives in a gated community when he was killed by a man who claimed self-defense and won.
Breonna Taylor’s mother also reached out. Her daughter was killed by police officers who burst into her room, serving a warrant during a drug operation, killing her after her boyfriend fired. No one was charged for her wrongful death.
Cooper-Jones referred to this group of mothers as a “sorority.”
“We come together. We share our experience and we grow together,” she said.
Another Thanksgiving Without Her Son
Ahmaud Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones: "This is the second Thanksgiving we've had without Ahmaud. But at the same time I'm thankful. This is the first Thanksgiving we are saying we got justice for Ahmaud." https://t.co/k9xPRd1LfY
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 27, 2021
Cooper-Jones’ only peace this year, and perhaps a bit of peace for these other mothers, is that her son’s murder has been met with justice.
“This is the second Thanksgiving we’ve had without Ahmaud,” she said. “But at the same time I’m thankful. This is the first Thanksgiving we are saying we got justice for Ahmaud.”
Outside of the Glynn County courthouse, Arbery’s supporters chant, “Justice for Ahmaud!”
“I finally got a chance to come out of those courtroom doors and say, we did it, we did it together,” Cooper-Jones said.
This thankful, but still grieving, mom told The Associated Press that they’re planning a quiet Thanksgiving, where they might make Ahmaud Arbery’s favorite — “pork chips and butter beans.”
— SoundzOfBlackNess✊🏾🇩🇴🇯🇲♊️✊🏾 (@NoEsAmor89) November 23, 2021
“Today is actually going to be a day of rest. I’ve been sitting in that courtroom since October 18,” Cooper-Jones said. “I’m gathering my immediate family. We’re going to have a small dinner. We’re going to be thankful. We’re going to give our praises to God.”
One of the only decent things to come from this tragedy is that it spurred Georgia to finally become the 47th state to pass a law against hate crimes. The law further repealed the citizen’s arrest law, which previously allowed citizens who aren’t police officers to detain someone. This law has often been cited in such cases by defense attorneys in similar trials, as it was at Arbery’s.
“When they hear my son’s name, they will say, this young man, he lost his life but he did bring change,” Cooper-Jones said.
What do you think of the justice served for Ahmaud Arbery? What would you like to express to his mother, if you had the opportunity? Let us know in the comments below.