RELIGION: RNS] — Faith leaders and religious groups across the country believe that the Ahmaud Arbery verdict — which found all three white men accused in his murder guilty — is a sign for progress. They also mourn Arbery’s passing and call on the church to continue working toward justice and racial healing.
Greg McMichael, son Travis McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were all convicted Wednesday (Nov. 24) of murder after jurors deliberated for about 10 hours. The minimum sentence for each of them is a life sentence. It is up the judge to decide if this comes with or without parole, according To The Associated Press .
The McMichaels grabbed guns and jumped into a pickup truck to pursue Arbery, 25, seeing him running outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick in February 2020. Bryan joined the chase in his pickup truck and captured cellphone video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery.
Although the McMichaels claimed they believed Arbery was a fleeing thief, the prosecution said that the men provoked the confrontation and that Arbery did not have any evidence of crimes in the area.
After the verdict was announced Wanda Cooper Jones , stated that Arbery’s mom Wanda said: “It has been a long battle. It was a tough fight but God is good .”
“Let the word go forth all over the world that a jury of 11 whites and one Black in the Deep South stood up in the courtroom and said that Black lives do matter,” he said.
“Almost 10 years after Trayvon, God used Wanda and Marcus’ son to prove that if we kept marching and kept fighting, we would make you hear us,” Sharpton added.
To Baptist minister, U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock , The “verdict upholds an sense of accountability but not true justice .”
“True Justice looks like a Black man who doesn’t have to worry about being hurt or killed while jogging, while lying in bed, and living a long, healthy life. Warnock stated that Ahmaud should be present with us today.
” I’m praying for Ahmaud and his family as they embark on the difficult journey to healing,” Warnock said.
The Rev. The Rev.
“Another Black mom is sitting at Thanksgiving without her child,” she said.
The Rev. Alvin Herring, executive Director of Faith in Action, applauded the verdict and said it was a sign that progress was being made, especially when you consider that it was almost an all-white jury in a small Southern town that convicted the three murderers .”
” Our work, at least for today, does not seem in vain and means we must continue in our efforts to eradicate hate and demand justice to our siblings who have been victims to racist violence,” stated Herring. He was one of hundreds of pastors who showed their support outside the Brunswick courthouse last Wednesday.
The pastors gathered and prayed outside of the trial Thursday to protest the presence Sharpton in court. He said that he did not want “any more Black pastors in the courtroom.”
Activist Linda Sarsour stated that the verdict was for Arbery’s mother ,, who “continues fighting for her son .”
” Rest in power #AhmaudArbery. Sarsour stated that we won’t stop until Black women and men can safely walk, jog and live in this country.”
Bishop Michael Curry of the Episcopal Church gave thanks for the outcome , and stated that the nation and the church “must work on for racial heal .”
” We must think again and fight against policies, laws and systems that promote vigilantism and degrade human life. All people should be treated with dignity, love and respect, he stated.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations released a statement expressing its satisfaction with the guilty verdicts and commending the Arbery family for their “continuance” since Arbery’s murder. We pray that Allah will bring justice to all the victims of racist crimes, whose perpetrators have never been tried .”
Alan Cross, a Southern Baptist pastor, said he was grateful for the guilty verdict for the “heinous crime this was.”
” I still recall, however, some fundamentalist preachers here confronting people because they rightly observed what was clearly a racist murder/lynching,” Cross said.
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Atlanta released a statement expressing gratitude “that the jury, under the guidance of a thorough judge, properly applied the law.”
” We note with appreciation Rabbi Rachael’s presence during the trial in support for the Jewish principle tzedek tirek — justice, justice shall you pursue,” the statement said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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