Verdicts in Arbery murder case ‘appropriate and necessary’
United Church of Christ Acting General Minister and President the Rev. Traci Blackmon issued this statement after a Glynn County jury in Brunswick, Ga., found three men guilty in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. Here is the text of her statement.
These three guilty verdicts in the callous murder of Ahmaud Arbery are appropriate and necessary in a country and judicial system that often treats the murder of Black people like an acceptable sport even when the brutality of the killings is undeniable.
This is what grown-up Kyle Rittinghouses become when their violent and evil actions are not met with an equal force of accountability and consequences. This is what happens when legal systems dismiss treasonous behavior with wanton disregard for “the other,” whomever the other may be, such as we witnessed on January 6, 2021, at the Capitol of the United States. This is what happens when white supremacists are allowed to build gallows on federal grounds, occupy seats of Congress, and direct dissent from the Oval Office. This is what happens when the sermons we preach and the theology we teach is born out of colonized religion. This is what happens when repentance for the founding sins of this country is not required. This is what happens when misinformed, maladjusted, white men train up children in the way they think they should go and white mothers stay silent to protect their privilege.
This verdict does not render justice. Justice is not possible. It does not offer healing for the Arbery family. Healing is not within the purview of our legal systems. It does offer accountability. And accountability is my love language. I get accountability. And in a season of little accountability in the White House, and little accountability in the White halls of Congress, and little accountability in the White courts of our Judicial system, and little accountability in the White sanctuaries of our churches — I am grateful for this little bit of accountability in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery — a Black man jogging whose spirit will rise again.
Until Justice Comes,
The Rev. Traci Blackmon Acting General Minister and President Associate General Minister, Justice and Local Church Ministries United Church of Christ
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