A small band of activists took to Times Square Wednesday night to celebrate the verdicts in the Georgia murder trial of Ahmaud Arbery while charging there is more work to be done.
Even hours after three men were found guilty of murdering an unarmed, empty-handed jogger, Ahmaud Arbery, a sense of relief continued to wash over them and passersby on Nov. 24. Pedestrians passing by on their street lifted their cellphones to their friends in reprieve, with one man by the name of Joseph Sanchez remarking in pure astonishment: “They got them, they got all three!”
Protest group NYC Revolution Club set up a demonstration in the heart of Times Square, under the vivid light of flashing advertisements and the bemused gaze of tourists. Although the activists celebrated what they felt was a victory, they also asserted that this trial alone can not atone for so many previous injustices.
“The horrible heinous nature of the crime only became known because the video was leaked by mistake,” Emma Kaplan said. “We have to ask ourselves, is this the best we can hope for? Is this the kind of victory we can take satisfaction in when once in a blue moon someone is held accountable?”
Chanting “Guilty, Guilty, the whole system is guilty,” the message was clear. While some take solace in justice served, others remain skeptical if verdicts like these will bring meaningful chance.
Political leaders also weighed in. Taking to social media, Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sought to remind the country that “these verdicts are often the exception, not the norm.”
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams also released a statement reflecting on Arbery’s murder, gun violence, and growing up as a Black man in the United States.
“Being a Black man in America is also reflected in the absurd dread of waiting for this verdict and being in doubt of its outcome even in the face of overwhelming evidence, hoping for justice but not expecting it. Because we’ve been here before, so many times, and seen justice denied – seen our humanity denied. We must continue the work of uprooting old systems until the expectation is not justice denied but justice delivered, until we can truly be okay,” Williams said in a statement.