New Yorkers respond to the verdict in Ahmed Arbery’s murder trial
Activists from the New York Revolution Club gathered to celebrate the convictions in Ahmed Arbery’s trial, but said there was more work to be done.
Dean Musa’s photo
A small group of activists took to Times Square on Wednesday night to celebrate the verdicts at the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial in Georgia, while charging that there was more work to be done.
Even hours after three men were convicted of killing unarmed runner Ahmud Arbery, the sense of relief continued for them and bystanders on November 24. Passers-by on their streets held their cell phones to their friends in delaying the execution, with one man named Joseph Sanchez saying in pure astonishment: “They’ve got it, they’ve got all three!”
Protest group NYC Revolution Club staged a demonstration in the heart of Times Square, under the bright light of flashing advertisements and the confused gaze of tourists. Although activists celebrated what they felt was a victory, they also emphasized that this trial alone cannot atone for many past grievances.
“The gruesome nature of the crime was only known because the video was accidentally leaked,” said Emma Kaplan. “We have to ask ourselves, is this the best we can hope for? Is this the kind of victory we can feel good about when someone is held accountable once in a blue moon?”
The message was clear: “Guilty, guilty, the whole system is guilty.” While some take solace in achieving justice, others remain skeptical if such judgments will bring meaningful opportunity.
Political leaders had their say, too. Looking at social media, Congressman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sought to remind the country that “these rulings are often the exception rather than the rule.”
Attorney General Juman Williams also issued a statement reflecting Arbery’s murder, gun violence, and his upbringing as a black man in the United States.
“To be a black man in America is also reflected in the absurd fear of waiting for this judgment and of doubting its outcome even in the face of overwhelming evidence, hoping but without expecting justice. For we have been here before, so many times, and have seen justice denied — we have seen our humanity denied.” “We must continue the work of uprooting legacy systems so that the expectation of justice is not denied but justice is served, so that we are truly OK,” Williams said in a statement.