Ahmaud Arbery’s Mother, Wanda Cooper, Calls Out Organizations Profiting From His Death
Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper, has a message for anyone profiting off of her son’s name.
Ahmaud Arbery’s tragic death made headlines after a video of him getting fatally shot after two white men, a father, and son, chased him down. The men, along with a third man who filmed what happened, were indicted in June, months after a video of the incident went viral.
His mother has now said she’s upset after multiple organizations in Ahmaud Arbery’s name are now being operated as a business. She called out the 2.23 and I Run with Maud writing:
“It is with great disappointment that I must now elaborate on this situation with the founders of 2.23 and creators of I Run with Maud when I am still grieving, still advocating, still seeking justice, and still trying to adjust to the loss of Ahmaud. Before I ever made a statement, I spoke with them several times to do my best to resolve this situation privately.”
“I cannot in good conscience support a page that now appears more like a business opportunity for its staff rather than getting justice for my son. So, I want to shed some light on this so that I continue to prepare myself for the true fight of justice for Ahmaud, protecting his character, and being strong for my family.”
She added that one of Ahmaud’s friends asked about starting the I Run With Maud social media page to serve as a memorial and a platform to raise awareness, but she appeared to be left out of making decisions for the page.
“When the page began to transition to a business, my daughter and I addressed our concerns with the page administrators. They originally acknowledged the transition and stated it would be corrected, however, that never took place. I also asked to have access to the page as an administrator several times, and was ultimately denied any access, which began to alarm me.”
“The I RUN FOR MAUD committee (all five members who I do not know well) have known for months I did not want my child’s death to be exploited or used for monetary gain for anyone. I was disrespected and ignored.”
She added that she never agreed with the I Run With Maud trademark when the application was filed on May 9, 2020. The date was just one day after Ahmaud’s birthday, and two days after the father and son were arrested for his death. It was also the date that balloons were supposed to be released to remember Ahmaud. She continued:
“One of the trademark applicants had never even met my son, yet applied for this trademark in an attempt to profit off Ahmaud’s name.”
She went on to say that while she didn’t ask for a GoFundMe in Ahmaud’s name, she appreciated it when it was created. Still, she said things went left with that as well.
“I was not begging for money and I was prepared to fight for my son either way. I have always worked for what I wanted.”
She also said Ahmaud was covered under a life insurance policy that she paid for herself.
She added of Foundation 2.23:
“This foundation was established by Jason Vaughn, a local high school coach. He is not a relative and did not have a close relationship with my son. The ideas for the foundation likely started after national attention began to spread due to our advocacy efforts. Within seven days of the foundation’s launch, its organizers had already planned a large fundraiser.”
She ended with:
“I could not remain silent, I not only speak for myself, but most importantly I speak for my son. What is important to me is to gain justice for my son and find peace. I am so disappointed that I must address this issue. The truth is I buried my son and there is nothing about a trademark, a social media page, money, or control that will fix that. I now must protect my son’s name.”
See her full statement below.
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