Thousands of people around the world are jogging to celebrate the birthday of man they never knew – Ahmaud Arbery. It is part of a global campaign to pay homage to 25-year-old Arbery, nicknamed Maud, who was shot and killed by two white men while out jogging in Georgia. Ahmaud was born on 8 May 1994 and would have turned 26 on Friday.
The idea for a global run in Arbery’s name came from his high school football coach, Jason Vaughn, who last saw Arbery when they crossed paths on a run. Arbery loved running. Now, the hashtag #IRunWithMaud has travelled the world, with runners from London to New York completing the 2.23-mile trip – a tribute to the date of his death, which occurred on 23 February. The hashtag now has more than 60,000 posts on Instagram.
The worldwide run follows news this morning that Arbery’s killers will face murder charges over the attack. Gregory and Travis McMichael told officers they thought Arbery resembled a suspect in a series of nearby break-ins. The pair were charged with murder and aggravated assault.
Police were aware of the crime for more than two months but did not charge the McMichaels until after the shooting gained widespread attention. When video footage of Arbery’s killing circulated online, celebrities such as LeBron James and Naomi Campbell called for justice, as well as politicians Kamala Harris and Joe Biden.
“Exercising while black should not be a death sentence,” said Harris in a tweet on Tuesday.