We Are Not Powerless!
It is a phrase that I repeat to myself anytime I am faced with news that is designed to render me powerless. In this case, it is the death of Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of three violent and blood thirsty white men, Gregory and Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan.
The murder occurred on February 23rd. The first prosecutor, District Attorney Jackie Johnson of Brunswick recused herself because Gregory used to work in the office with her.
At Ahmuaud’s mother’s request, District Attorney George Barnhill of the Waycross Judicial Circuit, was asked to be removed from the case due to concern of conflict of interest. DA George Barnhill’s son works in the Brunswick DA office where Greg McMichael retired.
On February 24th George Barnhill, reviewed the video and statements from the assailants and determined then that no arrest was warranted. He held to this opinion after receiving the autopsy results of Ahmaud Arbery on April 1, 2020 according to a letter he wrote to Captain Tom Jump of the Glynn County Police Department.
Barnhill also stated in his summation that “Arbery’s mental health records & prior convictions help explain his apparent aggressive nature and his possible thought pattern to attack an armed man”.
It is important to note that, Ahmaud did not fit the description of the burglary suspect and the assailants had no proof that Arbery had committed any crime.
On April 22nd, Liberty County DA, Tom Durden, received the case. Durden decided to pass the case along to a Grand Jury in order to decide of an indictment should be made.
On May 7th, Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.
While the arrest is good news, we have a long way to go! The killing will not stop even after a conviction should one be obtained.
Where Our Power lies
We are not powerless! Jackie Johnson, the first DA to recuse herself is up for reelection. The last contested race for DA in the general election occurred 24 years ago. She is being challenged by Brunswick attorney, Keith Williams. Williams is running as an independent. Your power is your vote.
Two Senators in the state of Georgia are up for election. Incumbent David Perdue is running for reelection and specially appointed Senator, Kelly Loffler is running to retain her appointment. Both are Republicans. The primary election will be held on June 6th. Your power is your vote.
David Perdue (R-GA) Class II
455 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Kelly Loeffler – (R-GA) Class II
131 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Commit to voting in your local elections. District attorneys, sheriffs, and judges are all elected officials. Some of those races go uncontested for years. These are the people that we need to ensure are clear of any prejudices and have a high regards towards black life.
Support your local candidates. Do your due diligence and research your candidates. Things you want to look for in candidates include
- Any community work done prior to running for office
- What their voting is record like
- Who funds their campaign
- Who do they surround themselves around
- Did they keep the company of black people prior to running for office
- Are black people simply props for their appearance
- Are they advocates for the most vulnerable in the community
These are important questions to ask as you conduct your research.
Teach your family members about the importance of voting. Get in the habit of sharing topics at family gatherings that have the potential to adversely impact them. We can no longer afford to not be engaged or at least aware of what’s going on concerning politics.
Unsure about the election dates and voter registration key days review this 2020 State Elections and Voter Registration Calendar – GA for more information.
Urge your state senators to support the Emmitt Till Antilynching Act. Per the bill summary it does the following:
- Establishes a new criminal civil rights violation for lynching
- Establishes a maximum term of 10 years for anyone found in violation
The bill is currently in the senate waiting to be signed.
There is Power in Self Preservation
Personal protection cannot be a second thought. If you do not want to purchase a gun, at the very least take some self-defense classes. If you are not opposed to carrying a gun, obtain your license to carry and attend a weapons training class. Teach your children how to protect themselves as well.
Take care of your mental health. Shut down social media and practice self-care on a regular basis. Speak how you feel. Embrace your anger and frustration, then release it. Holding things in can be harmful
Lastly, disconnect from people who are not empathetic towards the plight of African-Americans. One can’t call themselves an ally, then remain silent about the gross abuses towards black lives in the country. We are not powerless.
We are powerful
We are loved
We are wanted
We are needed
We will win