I am someone who genuinely enjoys outdoor runs. Running has always been something that relaxes me and helps me cope with the stress of everyday life. Usually, when I'm running, I only have to worry about running in unfamiliar areas and avoiding running outside after dusk. Never in my life have I ever imagined the idea of having to worry about my life on a run.
Ahmaud Arbery was 25 when he was murdered in late February in a neighborhood near Brunswick, Georgia. Ahmaud was a former high school athlete and an avid runner. While on a run on February 23, Ahmaud was chased down and killed by two white men.
The men who shot Ahmaud believed he was responsible for recent break-ins that had been occurring in their neighborhood. When they spotted Ahmaud out on a run, they proceeded to grab their guns and pursue him. Ahmaud was innocent and unarmed.
It took nearly two months for Ahmaud's story to make national news and for the men responsible for his death to be arrested.
It is heartbreaking that a young man with so much potential was murdered based on his race. It is even more heartbreaking that it took two months for the McMichaels to be arrested and for the case to make headlines.
Ahmaud's death is a sign that things need to change in our country. In an effort to bring awareness to the case and to honor Ahmaud, many people around the country participated in the #IRunWithMaud event on Friday, May 8th. Runners shared photos of them completing a 2.23-mile run to honor Ahmaud on what would have been his 26th birthday.
Ahmaud's story has caused me to reflect on my own life quite a bit. There have been many instances in my life where I have not even realized my privilege. It can be easy to forget about how different everyday life can be when you haven't had to face the same situations as others due to privilege.
We need to start recognizing our individual privileges and addressing unjust situations so we can move forward towards a better future.
If I've learned anything it's that I will never take my ability to go for a run for granted again.