Tampa Bay SDS demands justice for Ahmaud Arbery
“Trayvon Martin, Emmett Till. How many Black lives will you kill?” This was one of many chants heard across downtown Tampa on Saturday, May 9, as protesters gathered to demand justice for Ahmaud Arbery. The South Georgia resident was murdered by two white supremacist vigilantes, father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael, while he out for a jog.
Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), along with members of the community, parked outside the Sam M. Gibbons Federal Courthouse to participate in the socially-distanced protest. After the protesters were forced to leave by the building’s security, the rally continued in the form of a car caravan which circled the building.
Though Arbery was murdered in February, the culprits were not apprehended for nearly two months, despite being caught on video. Just a day before the scheduled protest, Gregory and Travis McMichael were finally arrested and charged with murder, thanks to the work of Arbery’s family as well as activists nationwide.
However, Tampa Bay SDS continues to emphasize the necessity of a conviction in order for justice to be served. David Jones of Tampa Bay SDS states, “Being in Florida we’ve seen the results of an indictment without conviction in the murder of Trayvon Martin. We must hold these racist vigilantes accountable and continue to fight for and struggle alongside Black communities if we want to see progressive change.”