Washington, DC – For what seems like the first time in far too long, the legal system has reinforced the twin pillars of justice in the United States: all are equal before the law and, while all are innocent until proven guilty, the guilty will be held accountable.
All three defendants in Georgia’s Ahmaud Arbery murder trial were found guilty on nearly all counts. While sentencing will not be known until the coming weeks, all three face the possibility of life without parole. While Georgia’s laws allow for a death penalty, FCNL and Quakers have never supported capital punishment.
Less than a week ago, Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who fatally shot two people and injured another during 2020 protests for racial justice in Kenosha, WI, had been found not guilty of all charges. The decision once again reminded us of white supremacy’s powerful grip on crime and punishment in the United States.
Ahmaud Arbery was chased and fatally shot when out on a jog. His mother will never have her son back. But a measure of justice was delivered by the jury in this case. As the Rittenhouse decision showed, it could have so easily been so much worse.
As Quakers, we place peace and unity at the very center of our faith. We truly love thy neighbor and seek a world in which every person’s potential can be fulfilled. Yet the reality of racism in our midst and institutions keeps us from this goal. Dismantling white supremacy will take a concerted effort by all those who value the dignity of Black and brown people.
The Arbery verdict is an all too rare opportunity to see what color-blind justice looks like. A jury of 11 white people and one Black person found three white men guilty of murdering one Black man. This should be what justice looks like every day.
As a Quaker organization, we at FCNL will remain fervently committed to rooting out racial injustice in reshaping public policy.
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