Today is my brother’s birthday. It also would have been Ahmaud Arbery’s birthday.
Ahmaud was a twenty-five-year-old who went for a run on February 23rd, 2020 and was murdered by white supremacists. It took until yesterday for the people responsible to be arrested.
As I was sharing some of my favorite memories of my older brother over our family Zoom, I thought about what it would be like if it had been my brother who had been shot and killed.
One of the things I love most about my older brother – and there are many – is his tireless commitment to justice. I was able to witness him grow from a goofy little kid into a goofy adult with the potential to make the world a better place.
Ahmaud’s family doesn’t get to do that.
My brother’s example encourages me to continue working despite my feelings of powerlessness, rage and despair.
The best birthday gift I can think of for my brother and for Ahmaud’s family and for all the people whose lives have been torn apart by similar hate crimes, is to commit again to seeking justice. To continuing to talk with white people about the roots of white supremacy. To press for better education in our police departments. To press for reform in our justice system.
I don’t think I will ever understand what it is like to look at another human being and see them as less than human. But I will do everything in my power to stop it from continuing in the future.
All the love and happy birthday, Jabernong.