The Abbott Institute

501 (c) (3)

 

 

 

 

 

The Robert S. Abbott Race Unity Institute

 

BLACK AND MINORITY OWNED BUSINESSES IN THE GOLDEN ISLES

 

Dear Friends,

 

In light of recent racial injustices, many of us are asking, “What can I do to be a stronger ally in the struggle for social justice?”

 

In addition to the Resources and Actions posted on our website, here are two proactive ways to be part of the solution in our local community:

 

  • There is a building at 1621 Albany Street in Brunswick, one side of which now displays a mural of Ahmaud Arbery’s face. The building is the future home of the Brunswick Georgia African American Cultural Center. It is headed by Aundra Fuller, who is spearheading a drive to raise funds for the renovation of the building and attract volunteers to help with indoor and outdoor tasks. The building requires extensive renovations, and Ms. Fuller is now in the process of acquiring estimates for HVAC, electrical, plumbing, front door, window, etc.

 

If you would like to donate toward the renovation of the building, go to www.baacc.org

and click on “DONATE.”

 

If you would like to volunteer your time, call Ms. Fuller at 912-289-5305.

 

  • The Abbott Institute is developing a directory of Black and Minority owned Businesses in the Golden Isles, or ones that can be accessed online to make purchases.  These can include in-home and professional services.  We intend to circulate the directory by every means possible to help people support these businesses.

 

You can help by submitting businesses that you can recommend from personal experience.

Please email the information to me at rlmiller@netbox.com with DIRECTORY in the subject line or text them to me at 912-577-8168. I would like to have them by the end of June so the directory can start circulating in July. Here is the info that I need:

  1. Name of business (and type, if not evident from the name)
  2. Full address of business, or if it’s online only, the website
  3. Phone number and/or website
  4. Why you recommend the business
  5. Name of owner (optional)

 

Here’s to greater involvement of community members who want to make a difference!

In peace and love,

 

Diane Knight

Board Member, The Abbott Institute

 

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The Robert S. Abbott Race Unity Institute

 

RESOURCES AND ACTIONS

 

Here are some great resources to help us all combat racism and inequality on multiple levels, in many ways.

 

Thank you for being part of the community working to foster relationships and bring about social justice.

 

WORKSHOP FACILITATORS AND ORGANIZERS

 

Center for the Healing of Racism (The Center) – Houston, TX

  • Learn about the Center’s many programs designed to heal the hurts caused by racism, empower individuals to become agents of change, and transform communities here.
  • Great resources and info from a wide variety of sources are on the Center’s facebook page.
  • Download the Center’s Guidelines for Sharing here.
  • Download the Center’s Various Forms of Racism here.

 

Robert S. Abbott Race Unity Institute (Abbott Institute) – Brunswick, GA

  • Call your Georgia State Legislators to support Hate Crimes bill (HB 426) and to abolish the laws that encourage anti-black violence here.
  • Find recommended readings here.
  • Action alerts and info from a wide variety of sources are on our website and facebook page.

 

LOCAL AREA GROUPS/ SITES

ENGAGED IN ANTI-RACISM AND EQUAL JUSTICE ACTIVISM

 

IRunWithMaud

Set up by friends and family of Ahmaud Arbery, this page was the first to sound the alarm about Ahmaud’s murder. It posts daily actions people can take to achieve justice for Ahmaud and provides a place for people to share their feelings and memories.

 

NAACP – Brunswick

 

NAACP - Camden County

 

STATEWIDE GROUPS

 

Georgia NAACP

 

Just-Georgia Coalition and member groups

Multiple groups and individuals have formed the Just Georgia Coalition in Atlanta in response to the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. Just Georgia seeks to address the immediate and long-term needs of Georgians impacted by state violence, mass incarceration and other systems of oppression.

 

NATIONAL GROUPS

 

Black Lives Matter

 

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)

SURJ is a national network of groups and individuals working to undermine white supremacy and to work toward racial justice.  SURJ has chapters all over the country, including in Atlanta and Savannah, so it’s a great resource no matter where you are in the U.S.

 

READINGS AND ACTIONS FOR WHITE / EUROPEAN AMERICANS

 

75 Things White People Can do for Racial Justice

This article is continually updated to ensure each item is accurate and needed today. Achieving racial justice is a marathon, not a sprint. Our work to fix what we broke and left broken isn’t done until Black folks tell us it’s done.

 

For Our White Friends Desiring to be Allies, by Courtney Ariel (Sojourners)

Author's Note: “ … not all marginalized people want to engage in the ally conversation, and that is perfect as well. For those who do, my prayer is that when someone asks you the question, “how can I be a stronger ally?” you might choose to save your breath/energy and send this in its place.”

 

White Ally Toolkit

The White Ally Toolkit/Ally Conversation Toolkit helps anti-racism allies do their part in the fight against racism by empowering and equipping them with best practice communications skills based on listening, storytelling, and compassion. These best practices will allow them to become more persuasive in conversations with racism skeptics.

 

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The Robert S. Abbott Race Unity Institute

Invites You to a Community Virtual Workshop

 

“Running with Ahmaud: Chasing Truth

What it Means to be Black in America”

 

As part of its continuing programming to foster a deeper understanding between races and cultures, The Robert S. Abbott Race Unity Institute Inc., Glynn County, will conduct virtual workshops to examine systemic racism within our communities and institutions and the role it played that lead to the death of Brunswick citizen, Ahmaud Arbery.

 

The program will be facilitated by Cherry Steinwender, executive director and co-founder of The Center for the Healing of Racism in Houston and, Laura Gallier, program facilitator.

 

The Center is generously offering this program free of charge, but will accept donations at https://www.centerhealingracism.org/donate

 

During the session, Ms. Steinwender and Ms. Gallier will lead a discussion that examines the embedded societal conditioning and deep-rooted racial stereotypes that influenced the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, and which continue to perpetuate violence against African Americans throughout the country.

 

Mr. Arbery, a 25-year-old African American man jogging through the mostly white Satilla Shores community of Brunswick, Georgia, was chased and fatally shot by a group of neighborhood white men on February 23, 2020.

 

“Running with Ahmaud: Chasing Truth

What it Means to be Black in America”

 

Two workshops will be conducted to provide flexibility for attendees.

 

YOU MUST SIGN-UP TO PARTICIPATE

Reservations will be limited to the first 100 at each session.

 

PLEASE GO TO THE LINKS BELOW TO REGISTER FOR YOUR PREFERRED DATE:

 

TUESDAY Jun 9, 2020              6:00-7:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMkc-mrrTIrHNYJe3nmhMdbVgmiMJ5E6HR4

 

SATURDAY: Jun 13, 2020     11:00-12:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUkd-CrrT4pGtcZrPTEgUK2_sGvPjvRIZhi

 

This is a continuation of Abbott Institute sponsored programming, such as the Dialogue Racism workshop presented last fall, to educate and enlighten participants regarding the systems that create the intentional and unintentional factors in our society that foster and perpetuate institutional and systemic racism. Our discussions explore long-standing biases and beliefs that affect us daily within our justice, educational, health care and economic systems, as well as the media.

 

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TO PROTECT BLACK LIVES,

GEORGIA’S LAWS HAVE TO CHANGE

CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS TODAY

 

It was not just their individual racist conditioning and white privilege that led the McMichaels to murder Ahmaud Arbery; it was also their certain knowledge of the state laws that empower white people to engage in lethal vigilantism against black people. This was argued eloquently by Charles M. Blow in his New York Times opinion piece, The Killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

 

“The most infuriating part of most of the cases in which unarmed black men are killed, either by the police or vigilantes, is the lack of arrest, prosecution or conviction. It is not any suggestion that the killers were right, morally, but rather that in most cases it could be reasonably argued that the killings were legal...

 

Slavery was legal. The Black Codes were legal. Sundown towns were legal. Sharecropping was legal. Jim Crow was legal. Racial covenants were legal. Mass incarceration is legal. Chasing a black man or boy with your gun because you suspect him a criminal is legal. Using lethal force as an act of self-defense in a physical dispute that you provoke and could easily have avoided is, often, legal.  “

 

If we want to stop killings like that of Ahmaud Arbery, we have to change the laws that encourage them. If we want to bring about justice, we have to repeal the laws that obstruct it. Regardless of COVID-19, we can all run with Ahmaud by calling our state legislators.

 

Phone calls are much more effective than emails and exponentially more effective than online petitions

 

If you really want to make a difference, please make some phone calls.

You can find your legislators’ contact information by entering your address at

https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/

 

Before you call:

Read the background information provided below so that you feel comfortable, but keep in mind that you do not have to make yourself an expert to ask for these changes. As a member of this community who has been impacted by this killing and this culture, your opinion is important and your feelings and values matter.

 

When you call:

  • Be polite. Tell the person who answers the phone your name and that you are a constituent and you want to talk to Representative X (or Senator Y) or the relevant staff person about the legal changes that are needed to prevent incidents like the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.
  • You may not be able to speak with your legislator in person. More likely, you will speak with a staff person, who will pass your message along in one form or another.
  • Make sure your request is clear: I want Representative X (or Senator Y) to work for:

 

    1. Passage of HB 426, a Hate Crimes bill currently in the legislature that will allow stronger punishments if a jury finds a crime was committed against someone because of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability. This bill passed the House and is stalled in the Senate Judiciary committee, so you only need to talk to your Senator about it.
    2. Repeal of Georgia’s Open Carry, Citizen’s Arrest and Lethal Force in Self-defense, aka “stand your ground” laws. Include these in talking to your Senator and your Representatives.
  • Tell them why this is so important to you and make it personal.
  • Ask them what Representative X or Senator Y is doing about these issues. If the answer doesn’t satisfy you, say politely that you expect them to do more, or differently. Ask them to make sure the legislator knows this.
  • Thank them for their time.

 

Background:

Although it seems that under a strict interpretation of these laws, the McMichaels are still legally guilty of murder, vague legal language combined with pervasive racial bias can lead juries to bring in not guilty verdicts in cases like these, which further empowers and encourages anti-black vigilantism. These laws were cited by District Attorney George Barnhill, who eventually recused himself, in a letter to the Glynn County police department as reasons why the McMichaels’ actions were “perfectly legal.” Laws like these were used to let George Zimmerman walk free after killing Trayvon Martin in Florida and to justify the unjustifiable killing of black people by police all over the country. These are the laws that the McMichaels’ attorneys will undoubtedly use to argue the innocence of their clients.

 

Georgia’s Open Carry Law

Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 16-11-126 allows any person to openly carry a handgun if the person has a “weapons carry” license. Georgia also allows any person to openly carry a long gun. In fact, if a long gun is carried while it is loaded, it must be carried openly.

 

“Carrying openly visible guns in public can quickly turn arguments fatal, be used to intimidate and suppress the First Amendment rights of others, and create confusion for law enforcement responding to shootings.”(Giffords Law Center).

 

“Violent extremists and hate criminals often use guns as a tool to threaten and intimidate members of historically vulnerable or marginalized communities. In doing so, they inflict serious harm without ever pulling the trigger” (Center for American Progress).

 

Georgia’s Citizen’s Arrest Law

O.C.G.A. § 17-4-60 Grounds for arrest, states “A private person may arrest an offender if the offense is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge. If the offense is a felony and the offender is escaping or attempting to escape, a private person may arrest him upon reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion.”

 

This law was invoked in 2019 after a young white woman chased down a 62-year-old black man who left the scene of a minor car accident, began punching him and then shot him dead in Atlanta. She was not personally involved in the accident.

 

“Reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion” is not defined, leaving this law open to interpretation by vigilantes, law enforcement and members of juries whose bias leads them to see black people as criminals and a black man running as proof of guilt.

 

Not surprisingly, this law dates back to the civil war era. In 2020, with cell phones, 911 calls and generally fast police responsiveness, it is obsolete and dangerous.

 

Georgia’s Self-Defense “Stand Your Ground” Law

Under O.C.G.A. § 16-3-21, people who “reasonably believe” that their life or property is being threatened don't have to retreat (stand your ground) and can use deadly force if they think it's necessary to prevent their own death or "great bodily injury" to themselves or other people or to prevent a "forcible felony," such as rape, armed robbery or kidnapping. While there are exceptions to the use of deadly force that apply to the McMichaels – if the person using deadly force was the aggressor, or initially provoked the other person – District Attorney George Barnhill interpreted the McMichael’s actions as justified under this law.

 

A jury may do so as well. “Stand your ground” has been used successfully as a defense even when the ground the killer was standing on had been reached by stalking the victim, as in the Trayvon Martin case.

 

This law was unsuccessfully challenged in 2012 as “unconstitutionally vague,” particularly with regard to the standard of “reasonable fear” as reported in a Courthouse News article.

 

“It is without question that the determination of the reasonableness of one’s fear in the invocation of self-defense will differ in application if the decedent is an unarmed elderly white woman as opposed to an unarmed young black man,” the complaint states. “Thus the reasonable person standard with regards to the use of self-defense when an individual is standing one’s ground offers different levels of protection to individuals based upon their race.”

 

The Giffords Law Center lists these important facts:

 

Multiple studies show that Florida’s stand your ground law escalated violence across the state.

 

Stand your ground laws have proven to be a clear threat to public safety, with no evidence that these laws deter crime. In fact, studies have conclusively associated these laws with increases in homicides and injuries.

 

In many cases, the race of the attacker and victim are highly significant factors in whether an attack is determined to be justified.

 

  • Controlling for other factors, the odds a white-on-black homicide is found justified is 281% greater than the odds a white-on-white homicide is found justified.
  • An analysis of Florida stand your ground cases similarly found that a defendant is twice as likely to be convicted in a case that involves white victims compared to those involving non-white victims.

 

 

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I RUN WITH MAUD

Help make sure Ahmaud Arbery’s killing

won’t be swept under the rug

 

On February 23, two white men, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis, grabbed their guns, got in their truck and chased down Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old black man who apparently made the mistake of jogging in Brunswick’s Satilla Shores neighborhood. Travis McMichael shot Ahmaud dead.

 

Gregory McMichael told police they thought Ahmaud had been involved in a recent “string of burglaries,” even though no recent break-ins had been reported in the neighborhood and an eyewitness who made a 911 call could not name a specific criminal action on Ahmaud’s part.

 

Over two months later, no arrests related to Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting death have been made, no charges have been filed and no grand jury investigation has been initiated.

 

Just this week, the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the New York Times began to cover the story and its unmistakable parallels to that of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old black teenager shot to death by George Zimmerman in Florida in 2012.  Since then, the Brunswick News’ treatment of the story has improved, starting with an editorial Tuesday calling for a thorough state investigation. A list of articles with links is below.

 

Ahmaud’s life mattered. Justice for his death matters to his family, his friends and his community – to all of us.

 

The Robert S Abbott Institute will continue to support this effort and know that you will too.

 

Updates and ways to help are at:

https://www.runwithmaud.com/

https://www.facebook.com/www.naacpga.org/

https://www.facebook.com/irunwithmaud

 

 

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There will be a protest calling for Justice for Ahmaud Arbery at the Glynn County Courthouse tomorrow (Friday MAY 7) at 10:AM.  The information below came from Rev. Jane Page, who is friends with James Woodall, and we wanted to share it with you.

 

We need to have a diverse crowd there and show that the whole community demands justice.

 

  • James Woodall, President of the GA NAACP, has shared that they are bringing many masks and requesting that folks wear them at the protest. We do realize that many folks may be very vulnerable and do not feel that they can risk this. Please know that we are there to represent you. Please share about this protest widely with friends you feel will be supportive.

 

  • As you may know, Liberty County DA Tom Durden has decided this case should go to the Glynn County grand jury, but still no arrests have been made. National attention to this has blown up since the video of the McMichaels killing Ahmaud was leaked and went viral.

 

 

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SGHS is very concerned about potential COVID transmission at tomorrow’s protest. We plan to have our mobile health vehicle on site to provide basic first aid, mask distribution and hand sanitizer distribution. I will be running this. If you are part of a group participating in this and want masks for your group come by there and we will provide whatever you need. If you need them today call me at +18648098425. Thanks Glenn Gann

 

 

The Community Emergency Needs Fund Next Phase and Survey (Coastal Community Foundation & United Way):  The committee will be meeting soon to discuss our community organizations’ response to the COVID-19 crisis. It is important that we have basic information about all agencies addressing this crisis. If you would like to be considered for funding, please let the funders know more about the work you are doing and your needs by completing this survey.   If you haven’t updated your survey, please take a moment to do so.

 

You may access the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TTWH2FB.

If you have any questions or difficulties in accessing or completing the survey, please do not hesitate to contact

 

Janelle Harvey:

janelle@uwcga.org

Or 912-265-1850  phone

 

 

St. Simons Presbyterian Church Aid for Individuals:

St. Simons Presbyterian Church is writing individual cash grants of $250/individual or $500/family to people who have been affected by Covid-19 whether that is from loss of income due to the virus of healthcare related expenses due to the virus. The application is available on the church website below (sspres.org->serve->relief fund) or can be received over the phone

 

912.638.2220,  Ext 106.

https://www.sspres.org/relief-fund.html

 

Please share this resource with anyone you think of who might need it in the coming weeks and months. If any questions come up, don’t hesitate to call.

 

Rev. Annie Franklin Arvin  Associate Pastor for Youth and Mission

(912) 638-2220 (office)

(828) 443-0299 (cell)

annie@sspres.org

 

 

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HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP:

 

WE CAN ALL HELP BY TAKING ACTION IN WAYS THAT MODEL THE NON-VIOLENCE AND UNITY WE WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD.

 

CALL OR EMAIL DISTRICT ATTORNEY TOM DURDEN’S OFFICE AND TELL HIM TRAVIS MCMICHAEL SHOULD BE ARRESTED. You can use the same talking points as for the letters to the editor below.

 

912-876-4151

Tom.durden@libertycountyga.com

 

 

USE SOCIAL MEDIA

 

Sign the petition:

https://www.change.org/p/district-attorney-tom-durden-justice-for-ahmaud-arbery-i-run-with-maud

 

Show your support by liking and sharing from the I Run With Maud Facebook page

 https://www.facebook.com/irunwithmaud/

 

 

SUBMIT A LETTER TO THE EDITOR CALLING ON DISTRICT ATTORNEY TOM DURDEN AND THE GEORGIA BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION TO CHARGE TRAVIS MCMICHAEL

 

Letters to the editor can be very influential – district attorneys and elected officials read them as well as the paper’s subscribers and online readers. Tips and talking points are below. Please write in your own words, from your own experience.

 

Letters to the Brunswick News (250-word limit) can be submitted online HERE:

https://thebrunswicknews.com/site/forms/online_services/letter_editor/

 

Letters to the Atlanta Journal Constitution (150-word limit) can be emailed to

letters@ajc.com

 

Letters to the New York Times are a long shot. Submission information is HERE:

 https://help.nytimes.com/hc/en-us/articles/115014925288-How-to-submit-a-letter-to-the-editor

 

 

TALKING POINTS YOU CAN USE:

 

  • Ahmaud Arbery was a victim of racial profiling who was threatening no-one and committing no crime when the McMichaels decided to chase him down with loaded weapons.

 

  • Given Gregory McMichael’s long involvement with law enforcement in this area, local conflicts of interest are a serious problem. The Georgia and Federal Bureaus of Investigation should oversee this case and make sure justice is truly served.

 

  • We do not want south coastal Georgia to be known as the place where yet again, there were no consequences for taking the life of a young black man.

 

  • Even Georgia’s heinous “stand your ground” law does not allow citizens to chase down and kill other citizens who are not threatening violence themselves. The McMichaels pursued and threatened violence against Ahmaud Arbery. They were clearly the aggressors, in fact and under the law.

 

  • What does it say about this community that a 25-year old unarmed man was shot down in the street and his confessed killer is walking free over 2 months later?  What will history say about this community if justice is not done for Ahmaud and his family?

 

  • How can we have unity and peace in a community where there is no such thing as “justice for all”?

 

 

NEWS ARTICLES

 

New York Times Articles:

 

What We Know About the Shooting Death of Ahmaud Arbery

April 28, 2020

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/28/us/politics/ahmaud-arbery-shooting-georgia.html

 

Two Weapons, a Chase, a Killing and No Charges

April 26, 2020

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/26/us/ahmed-arbery-shooting-georgia.html

 

 

Atlanta Journal Constitution Article:

 

Video of Brunswick shooting made by one of victim's pursuers

 

Supporters launch a virtual campaign after fatal Brunswick shooting

May 2, 2020

https://www.ajc.com/news/crime--law/supporters-launch-virtual-campaign-after-fatal-brunswick-shooting/s6URizsNMG7tbYOWsWLRfK/

 

Brunswick shooting summons old scars, fresh suspicions

April 27, 2020

https://www.ajc.com/local/brunswick-shooting-summons-old-scars-fresh-suspicions/1Ny2T7S26EWmJwUtRBdnCJ/

 

 

Brunswick News Articles:

 

Dispatcher: 'What was he doing wrong?'

April 29, 2020

https://thebrunswicknews.com/news/local_news/dispatcher-what-was-he-doing-wrong/article_fe51cdd4-3bb6-5815-9dec-ddcdc8f879f8.html

 

State should oversee shooting investigation

April 27, 2020

https://thebrunswicknews.com/opinion/daily_editorial/state-should-oversee-shooting-investigation/article_23059621-fcf6-5024-9bfa-50651eb33db3.html

 

Ware DA steps away from Arbery shooting case

April 14, 2020

https://thebrunswicknews.com/news/local_news/ware-da-steps-away-from-arbery-shooting-case/article_b72d73d7-764b-5712-bc84-868d44193343.html?fbclid=IwAR3nSG6l1kzkhMD19yiiqjMl2_YViroDl3b274RQujHb9UBZVdZSW5Ekucs

 

Liberty County DA to probe Glynn shooting

April 14, 2020

https://thebrunswicknews.com/breaking/liberty-county-da-to-probe-glynn-shooting/article_eae2baa1-07be-5ded-b742-758a8732ff58.html?fbclid=IwAR1snAOO8_gL61g6F--ES4aYI4mHJvxxYZHt9a0z6XlOZ8cqt6QHTDXriko#utm_campaign=blox&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

 

Police report sheds more light on Satilla Shores shooting

April 2, 2020

https://thebrunswicknews.com/news/local_news/police-report-sheds-more-light-on-satilla-shores-shooting/article_2d7c05c8-36d3-55b5-ae11-60ea763095b3.html

 

Shooting death presents conflict of interest for local DA's office

Feb 28, 2020

https://thebrunswicknews.com/news/local_news/shooting-death-present-conflict-of-interest-for-local-da-s/article_1eee7339-8ef5-5d4a-bb6a-6f91c84d6fd9.html#utm_source=thebrunswicknews.com&utm_campaign=%2Fnewsletters%2Fheadlines%2F%3F-dc%3D1582887611&utm_medium=email&utm_content=read%20more

 

Police mum on circumstances behind Satilla Shores shooting

February 26, 2020

https://thebrunswicknews.com/news/local_news/police-mum-on-circumstances-behind-satilla-shores-shooting/article_d06f0b36-04ea-51d5-ab7b-3ea858918ec5.html