KANSAS CITY, Mo. (FOX4) – People all over the country, including the metro, ran 2.23 miles in honor of a Georgia man who was murdered while jogging.
The distance was a symbol of the date of his death: Feb. 23.
Brian Jones runs weekly with the members of Black Men Run, an organization that promotes health and fitness in the African American community.
“We hold each other accountable and challenge each other,” Jones said.
On Friday, the group ran for Ahmaud Arbery, who was out for run when he was allegedly gunned down by two white men. The video of the February attack was released this week, prompting protests and, ultimately, the arrest of a father and son.
“When I watched the video, I saw myself or I saw my friends or my relatives, whether they’re runners or not,” Jones said.
He said he’s never been out running and felt like he was being targeted because of the color of his skin, but it’s happened to people he knows.
“We’re constantly reminding each other to be safe, be careful when you’re out there,” he said. “Be aware of your surroundings.”
Arbery was an avid runner. Jones said because Arbery’s no longer alive to do what he loved, members of group ran for him on what would been his 26th birthday.
“Running is one of those things we do to give us peace. It’s a way to relax, and for his peace to be disturbed the way it was,” Jones said, “I can’t imagine.”
Jones said it’s difficult being black in America, but he refuses to live in fear.
“We have to keep our heads and focus on the possibility of something like this happening even though it’s a shame,” he said.
Black Men Run holds group runs Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. at Mill Creek Park. The organization welcomes runners of all levels.
You can learn more about Black Men Run by visiting their Facebook page.