‘It’s a struggle everyday’: Ahmaud Arbery’s parents look back on year without their son

‘It’s a struggle everyday,’ Ahmaud Arbery’s parents

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - After speaking to Wanda Cooper-Jones and Marcus Arbery, Sr., WTOC learned that there’s still a lot of pain beneath those strong faces - a pain, they say, they’ll live with forever.

Gone too soon.

“Where do I start? In February, my month took a drastic change.”

Leaving a heartache no one can heal.

“Some days I don’t know whether I’m going to make it or not.”

Wanda Cooper-Jones and Marcus Arbery see Ahmaud everywhere.

“You know, I look at pictures when he was one and two, and I look at pictures of him as a young adult,” said Cooper-Jones.

Everywhere but here with them.

“He called me every day, and now that I can’t hear from him, it’s a struggle every day,” said Arbery.

Ahmaud was shot and killed while jogging in Satilla Shores, just a few miles away from his mother’s home. A home she can no longer live in.

“Just the little time that I spend there is very hard,” said Cooper-Jones.

Moving closer to family the weekend following her son’s death.

“I try to really move through this real quietly.”

Each day, going through the motions.

“Definitely, it’s a struggle everyday,” said Arbery.

And for Ahmaud’s father, hard to get the video, seen worldwide, of his son’s death out of his head.

“You shot my kid with a gun.”

Visits to Ahmaud’s grave don’t get easier for the two.

“When you a parent, you want your children to look down at your face rather than you looking down at theirs,” said Arbery.

But as they look down at their son, they know he’s smiling back.

“Ahmaud was loved and I think that if he thought that his name, Ahmaud Arbery, would bring about love, unity, he would be greatly, he would be pleased,” said Cooper-Jones.

Wanda and Marcus say their son was a catalyst for change in the Glynn County community, with voters ousting Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson, who initially led the shooting investigation of Arbery in 2020.

“That was a major change that we had.”

Their son also created change in the country, where they say racism still exists.

“People look at people for who they are, not the color of their skin. Look at people like human beings,” said Arbery.

Which is what Ahmaud’s parents have found themselves doing since their son’s death. Both say they were never as outspoken as they are now.

Wanda has found support through other families, who’ve lost loved ones, fighting for racial justice.

“I went to Louisville to support Breonna Taylor’s family. I also attended a Mother’s march in Minnesota.”

Marcus can also be seen at peaceful marches and protests against police brutality.

“Our justice system got to put the heat on them, and let them know we aren’t tolerating that and that’s the only way this world is going to be better.”

Wanda and Marcus also said they wanted to thank the friends and strangers who have stood by them during this difficult time.

When you drive around Brunswick, there are billboards or yard signs with Ahmaud’s face or name on it and they’ve even seen bumper stickers that say ‘I run with Maud.’ It’s a reminder that their son is never coming home, but they say it is also a reminder that so many people are fighting for justice.

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