Ahmaud Arbery’s sister speaks to Dane County teens working to end racial injustice

MADISON, Wis. — The Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County partnered with the Coastal Georgia Community Action Authority to host a virtual town hall on Friday to talk about social injustice.

The non-profit is in Brunswick, Georgia, where 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed while jogging in February. A white father and son are charged with his death.

Jasmine Arbery, Ahmaud’s older sister, was the first speaker during the town hall.

“I’m still shocked. This is a lot to process. I still can’t believe it, I’m still numb to the incident,” said Jasmine Arbery.

Still, Arbery smiled when she spoke about her brother.

“Your loved ones wouldn’t want you to be down or sad. You have to find that strength in your loved ones. And I know moving on can feel like guilt, but you have to remember your loved ones would want you to be happy,” she said.

Young leaders spoke about how they’re working towards justice in the Madison community.

Sirena Flores, a student entering her fifth year at UW-Madison, said she dealt with the death of her friend Tony Robinson while in high school.

Robinson was shot and killed by a white Madison police officer. She said she led many of the school protests then, even getting arrested. Now she’s pursuing a political science degree.

“I don’t want to be the one writing the letters. I don’t want to be the one at the forefront of those protests anymore. I want to be the one to open those letters, I want to be the one to make those policies. I want to change policing policies and camera laws and gun laws. I think we need more money put into education and less money put into prisons,” said Flores.

Noah Anderson also spoke. The West High School senior is the son of Marlon Anderson, who was fired by the Madison Metropolitan School District after using the n-word when telling a student not to call him that.

Marlon Anderson was reinstated after protests led by his son.

Noah Anderson said the story of Arbery’s death “rose and uproar” in him.

“I just didn’t want to repost it. I wanted it to end. I don’t want to see anymore names on my feed. Right now we’ve got a city-wide (Black Student Union) for issues like this to raise awareness. I’m a rapper as well and I actually recently wrote a song about this event. And through my music, I’m trying to spread awareness and bring our people up,” said Anderson.

In his opening remarks, CEO and President of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County Michael Johnson explained why the two non-profits partnered for this event.

“Why Wisconsin? In our state we have one of the largest racial achievement gaps in the United States. We lock up more black men than anywhere in the United States,” said Johnson. “We wanted to encourage our city and our young people to help support Ahmaud’s family, but we also want to lift up the voices of young people, in particularly African American kids in both Brunswick and Madison, Wisconsin.”