Arbery’s mother reflects on his death as vigil is held to mark 1 year

Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 6:29 PM EST
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WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Family, friends, and supporters are paying their respects to Ahmaud Arbery in Waynesboro on the anniversary of his death.

There was a candlelight vigil tonight remember him at the new Springfield Baptist Church in Waynesboro, near where Arbery is buried.

That memorial service is a very intimate event to honor his life. We spoke with Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, who says a year later she’s still in disbelief.

“The only question that I have is why. Why, why did this happen? Just why?”

Today marks one year since the 25-year-old was shot and killed while jogging through a Brunswick, Georgia neighborhood.

Since then, a lot has changed but for his mother, the pain still remains.

“I wouldn’t say that I’ve healed much. I’ve learned how to take day by day, sometimes I pray, and I stand in my faith. God will get me through,” she said.

COVID-19 has put a hold on most jury trials, so the three men accused of killing Arbery sit in jail awaiting trial.

Cooper says the waiting has been hard, but the outpouring of support after Arbery’s death was appreciated.

“I was very thankful because in the beginning. It was very dark. But to just have people come out for my family and I was, it was very, very much appreciated,” she said.

Since Arbery’s death, Georgia has passed a hate crime bill, and now, Governor Brian Kemp just announced plans to repeal the citizen’s arrest law.

Cooper-jones has spoken at several protests to show support for other moms who have lost their sons too.

“Ahmuad just wasn’t a jogger, he just wasn’t. He was a son, first, he was a brother, he was a grandson, Ahmaud was loved and he was loved by many,” she said.

“What I’m hoping to see. Is there is one day, that a black make can feel like he’s free to run down the street without being chased and killed? I mean, it shouldn’t be a question at all.”

For now, Arbery’s mother says she’ll keep pushing through the challenging times and fighting for justice.

“What’s been the hardest part?” Kennedi Harris asked.

“Just imagining life without Ahmaud. I’m very confident that we will get justice, but what’s so fearful is that after justice Ahmaud... Won’t be with me,” she said.

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