BRUNSWICK, Ga. – A crowd of about 100 people stood at the intersection of Albany and G streets in Brunswick, Georgia, on Tuesday to dedicate a portion of the street to Ahmaud Arberya Black man who was killed by three white men who have been convicted of murder and also sentenced to prison for federal hate crimes.
Arbery’s parents, Wanda Cooper-Jones and Marcus Arbery, were joined by loved ones, attorney Lee Merritt and other supporters as they unveiled Honorary Ahmaud Arbery Street along a stretch of road that was once home to Black-owned businesses in Brunswick.
“My only prayer is that you all won’t forget his name,” Jones said fighting through tears. “Please promise me you will always say his name about him.”
In December, the Brunswick City Commission passed legislation to dedicate the street to Arbery. The naming follows a series of honors in Georgia commemorating Arbery’s legacy, including renaming a Brunswick park and declaring Feb. 23 as Ahmaud Arbery Day.
Tuesday’s street dedication followed a more than two-year legal process to obtain justice for the 25-year-old Black man who was chased, cornered and gunned down as he jogged through in a residential neighborhood.
“We ask that you continue to lift this family up because this is not the end of the journey,” Brunswick Mayor Pro Tem Felicia Harris said in a prayer at the start of the dedication. “They still have to contend with where they go from here.”
The Tuesday event came a day after a federal judge in South Georgia sentenced three men – Travis McMichael, 36, Gregory McMichael, 66, and William “Roddie” Bryan, 52 – for violating Arbery’s civil rights.
Travis McMichael, who fatally shot Arbery, will serve his federal sentence of life plus 10 years. His father, Gregory, who initiated the deadly pursuit of the jogger, will serve life in plus seven years. Their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, who took a video of the killing, was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
They will serve the federal sentences concurrently with their state time. The judge denied each man’s request Monday to serve his sentences in federal prison.
There are still additional legal hurdles to battle, including setting a trial date for former Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson, who was indicted on a felony charge of violation of oath and a misdemeanor charge of obstruction and hindering a law enforcement officer in September 2021 .
Arbery’s family would also like to see consequences for Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill, who had ruled the McMichaels and Bryan acted in self-defense.
“Our understanding is once the McMichaels’ trial was complete, that the attorney general could then begin to prosecute Gregory McMichael about his relationship to George Barnhill and then we expect criminal charges to go forward again,” attorney Lee Merritt told the Savannah Morning News.
Merritt, who represents Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones, said Glynn County still has an unfinished business and bears responsibility for what happened to Arbery.
“I will not, and the family will not let me, let Glynn County off the hook, and neither should you,” Merritt said, addressing Tuesday’s crowd.
Merritt said Arbery’s mother is now focused on the Ahmaud Arbery Foundation and ensuring her son’s legacy lives on.
Contact Raisa Habersham at [email protected]
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism