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Georgia marks statewide 'Ahmaud Arbery Day' to honor the slain jogger

A painting of Ahmaud Arbery is displayed during a vigil at New Springfield Baptist Church on Wednesday in Waynesboro, Ga.
Sean Rayford
Getty Images
A painting of Ahmaud Arbery is displayed during a vigil at New Springfield Baptist Church on Wednesday in Waynesboro, Ga.

Beginning Wednesday, the state of Georgia will recognize Feb. 23 of each year as Ahmaud Arbery Day, for the Black jogger who was chased down and killed on a residential street near Brunswick exactly two years ago.

The Georgia House of Representatives passed a resolution earlier this month honoring Arbery and urging people to jog 2.23 miles annually to advocate for racial equality.

Both of Arbery's parents – Wanda Cooper-Jones and Marcus Arbery – were scheduled to appear at events in Georgia on Wednesday. Other planned remembrances included a vigil in the Satilla Shores neighborhood where Arbery was murdered and a candlelight march.

This year's anniversary of Arbery's death comes one day after his three convicted killers, who are white, were found guilty in a federal hate crimes trial of targeting Arbery because of his race.

In a separate trial in Georgia state court last year, Travis McMichael, his father, Greg McMichael, and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan were found guilty of Arbery's murder. They chased him down in pickup trucks, and Travis McMichael killed him with a shotgun.

All three men were sentenced to life in prison in that case.

Georgia Rep. Sandra Scott, who sponsored the resolution creating Ahmaud Arbery Day, said the resolution also noted that Arbery's death brought about the repeal of the state's citizen's arrest law and the passage of new hate crimes legislation.

"We finally got the justice that we've been waiting on for a very long, long time," Scott told WABE after Tuesday's guilty verdict.

A version of this story originally appeared in the Morning Edition live blog.

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