Ahmaud Arbery Day legislation author's hopes for Georgia and other states

Protesters gather outside the Glynn County Courthouse where the trial of Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan is held, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. The three men charged with the February 2020 slaying of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Tuesday’s guilty verdict in the federal hate crimes trial for the men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery comes a day before the two-year mark of his killing in Brunswick.

A jury in south Georgia found Travis and Gregory McMichael and William Bryan guilty of violating Arbery’s civil rights, targeting him because he was Black and using dangerous weapons to detain and ultimately kill him.

State Rep. Sandra Scott proposed and passed through the legislature a resolution making Feb. 23 Ahmaud Arbery Day in Georgia.

“I have one nephew and I have a son, and they both have boys,” Scott said right after the verdict was announced on Tuesday. “This is very close and dear to my heart because I have to let them know it could have been you. It could have been them.”

Other states need to take up hate crimes laws, said Scott. Georgia added a state hate crimes law and repealed its Civil War-era citizen’s arrest law after Arbery’s killing.

For a deeper exploration of Ahmaud Arbery’s story, listen to WABE’s podcast, “Buried Truths.” Hosted by journalist, professor, and Pulitzer-prize-winning author Hank Klibanoff, season three of “Buried Truths” explores the Arbery murder and its direct ties to racially motivated murders of the past in Georgia.