Today I ran.
It’s something that I usually do early in the morning. Most people are still in bed. I like running in the early mornings. There’s usually not a lot of people up and about, and traffic is usually minimal. When I run, I use this time to think about my upcoming day or work out a problem that I’ve been grappling with from the night before. My mind is on the road and the scenery of the neighborhoods that I run through. I think about the beach and the sand as I run past the ocean.
I get lost in my thoughts and the beauty of my surroundings. I think about my timing. I think about my pace. I think about crossing an intersection after making sure the roads are clear. I think about my breathing. I think about stretching my muscles. I think about other runners on the road. I think about the song that is playing on my playlist and set my pace and rhythm.
But now, I’ve had other thoughts that don’t usually creep into my run. Today, I wondered if cars were passing me or trailing me. Today, I wondered what would happen if I ran down a different road and into an unfamiliar neighborhood. Today, I wondered if I had a plan for my personal safety. I wondered how I would react if confronted by someone else with issues about my blackness being in spaces where I was perceived to not belong. Sometimes we take for granted our sense of safety in public spaces. Sometimes we refuse to believe that the unthinkable could happen to us because of our complacency and lack of imagination about where we are as a nation.
I also wondered if Ahmaud Arbery had these thoughts as he went for a run on Feb. 23. I wondered if he selected his playlists thinking that any the songs in his rotation would be the last that he would ever hear. I wondered if he thought that the truck was going to pass him as it stalked him in the streets instead. I wondered if he had an emergency plan for when the unthinkable becomes the inevitable.
It has been more than two months since this unarmed black man was shot and killed by two white men in the middle of the street in Georgia. Those men were just arrested this week, after a video of the killing was released.
I wonder what would happened if someone ended up dead after two black men grabbed their guns and got into their truck. I wonder if it would have taken two months of delays for an arrest and charges to be filed. I read that a decision could not be reached because of social distancing and the coronavirus. I wonder if the arrests of young black men in that district have also been halted for that same reason.
I am tired of this. I am tired of these headlines. I am tired of being surprised.
Outside of my regular job, I get involved in local organizations geared toward social responsibility. I have met many wonderful and talented people who have taught me a lot about commitment, duty, justice, responsibility, religion, brotherhood, civics, business, economics, politics, family, history and advocacy. Now, more than ever, we need more people to join these efforts. These issues will not go away until we decide to address them. I would encourage everyone to join in these efforts. Especially those who find themselves at home and unoccupied during these times.
Most of these organizations are nonprofits and work on the generosity of volunteer time and dollars. They sound the clarion call to action when justice is in peril. People who work for these groups are not doing it for the money, but the organizations do need money to continue the fight. They also need volunteers. Find one organization that is working toward an issue or item that is important to you. Join that organization and work towards your solution.
I try to run several times a week. I run for my health. I run because i enjoy it. I run because it’s a great way to mentally center myself. I don’t want my runs to devolve into anxiety. I don’t want my runs to be stressful. I want to know that there is a sense and a source of justice when I am out there. I will continue to work toward this.
I will continue to run.
Trelvis Randolph, an attorney based in Miami, is president-elect Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Bar Association.