While out for a jog near his home in Brunswick, GA on Feb. 23, 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed by two white supremacists, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael. The two men were arrested over two months later.
Gregory McMichael was a former police officer and retired investigator for the DA’s office, previously banned from carrying a gun on duty. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested the McMichaels on May 7 following overwhelming public demand after a video of Arbery’s death was released.
Across the nation, people ran 2.23 miles on May 8 on what would have been Arbery’s 26th birthday to remember the day he was killed. The hashtag #runwithmaud became a trend as people ran in honor of Arbery, including junior Nate Schrimpf, who ran 4.3 miles.
“It just felt like the right thing to do in my heart,” Schrimpf said. “I didn’t know about his death until two months later, but it shocked me and angered me, but I told myself, there’s good and bad people in the world.”
When junior Sabrina Sanchez first learned about Arbery’s death, she hoped it was simply a fake news article or a manufactured story with a deeper meaning behind it. After conducting research about Arbery’s death online, she realized that the story was in fact real and decided to post on Instagram about it.
“Regardless of what anyone’s beliefs are or what people believed happened, I think it’s a universal belief that the death of any person so young should be acknowledged and known,” Sanchez said. “I think that not knowing about events like Ahmaud’s or choosing to be ignorant to them is a shame.”
While many people may post or share information about issues like white supremacy for a short period of time before forgetting or moving on, Sanchez hopes that Arbery’s death has a lasting impact on those who viewed her story.
“I hoped people would be disappointed and sad that deaths like this still happen,” Sanchez said. “I also hoped that they would be intrigued enough to research more about the topic regardless of what other beliefs or influences they have.”
To continue following the case of Arbery’s death, students have promoted the website runwithmaud.com for those looking to learn more.