Kevin Gough, the attorney “defending” William “Roddie” Bryant, the man who both took the video of the massacre and participated in it, has asked the judge, each day, to bar Rev Jesse Jackson from the courtroom. How absurd! He says Rev. Jackson’s presence might influence the nearly all-white jury, and I suspect his objections might lay the groundwork for an appeal if the devilish white men are found guilty of murder.
Gough’s racism and ignorance have been a constant presence in this trial. He said he didn’t want more Black pastors in the courtroom after Rev. Sharpton sat with the Arbery family. He asked the stupid question, “How many pastors does the Arbery family have.” He had the nerve, though out of the jury’s hearing, to ask if Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock, also a pastor, will be next in the courtroom. What if he was?
Gough will go down in the racist’s hall of fame, but he is not the only one. All these “stand your ground” laws are an absurd attempt to allow white people to shoot Black people with impunity. Southern state legislatures empower white people to embrace their racism with firearms, whether they are police officers or ordinary citizens. It is frightening to think that we live in a world where white fear, real or imagined, justifies a Black massacre.
On the witness stand, one of the murderers admitted that Arnaud did not say a word to him, did not do a darn thing but try to get away from him. He shot him anyway! So, some random white person follows a Black man and attacks him because he is “scared.” He should have kept his scared self in his house and called the police. But no, he was a white man with privilege, power, and a weapon. Why should he call law enforcement when he could enforce the law himself?
So how many pastors does the Arbery family have? As many as they want. Black folks around the nation and the world are praying for a just result in this trial. We are praying for a judicial ruling that the massacre of Black people is unacceptable. We are praying for an examination of this nonsense called “citizen’s arrest.” And we are praying for our leaders, our pastors, our brothers to keep the faith and keep representing.
Kevin Gough does not “get” the Black community, and he doesn’t have to. But what he needs to know, when he thundered about Black pastors, is that all of us, Black people, are connected. How many pastors do I have? As many as will claim me. Hundreds of Black pastors have claimed the Arbery family because they relate to their pain. Whether you are a pastor or not, you should claim them, too.
Dr. Julianne Malveaux is an economist, author, and dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at Cal State LA. juliannemalveaux.com