NBCSL Calls for an End to Senseless Violence Against Others Based on Racist Stereotypes
May 28, 2020
In addition to trying to navigate the COVID-19 crisis, the nation was introduced recently through social media to the shooting of an unarmed Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia. This was followed by national outrage when the story captured the headlines through broadly circulated news media. The shooting occurred on February 23, 2020 in the Satilla Shores neighborhood not too far from Arbery’s residence
The video of the shooting depicts Arbery jogging along a neighborhood road then approaching a white truck with a white male standing beside its open driver’s-side door. Another white male can be seen in the bed of the pickup. Arbery runs around the truck and disappears briefly from view. Muffled shouting can be heard before Arbery emerges, tussling with the man outside the truck as three shotgun blasts can be heard. Following the shooting and subsequent protests led by national activists, investigations led to the arrest of two white males identified as the father-son duo named Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael. Both men claimed they believed Arbery may have been the individual breaking into homes in the neighborhood, however, many conclude this is just another example of racial profiling.
A major failure in this incident is that for a period of over three months, no arrests were made until the video release created public outcry and bought awareness to the issue. The arrests of the McMichael’s took place on May 7, 2020, two days after the graphic footage of the shooting became public through social media. Many believe that because the father, Gregory McMichael, it played a part in the delay to the arrests with this crime.
This is just a recent disturbing example of the many incidents depicting unarmed people of color being harassed or even killed by White onlookers for whatever reasons with some even projecting racist stereotypes. This also amplifies the National Black Caucus of State Legislators’ (NBCSL) call to action against gun violence and rhetoric that promote sentiments of one race over another. Additionally, Georgia is one of four states without hate crimes legislation, the NBCSL has taken the initiative to encourage change that may be a deterrent to further events that lead to the loss of life.
The Honorable Gilda Cobb-Hunter, South Carolina State Representative and President of NBCSL says All of us have got to put our best efforts into these laws so that moms like Ahmaud Arbery’s mother who woke up for the first Mother’s Day without her son, that’s happening too often in too many places around this country.
Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter is the President of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the nation’s premier organization representing and serving the interests of African American State legislators with more than 700 members representing over 60 million Americans. NBCSL serves as a national network, advocate, and catalyst for public policy innovation, information exchange, and joint action on critical issues affecting African Americans and other marginalized communities.