Why Black Preachers Must Be Present At The Ahmaud Arbery Trial

The presence of Black men united is a threat to White Supremacy.

Ahmaud Arbery protests. Photo by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash

“When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.”

~ Proverbs 21:15

White Supremacy is on trial again (surprise), this time in Georgia with the Ahmaud Arbery trial. And just like I noted in my piece about the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, the code of White Supremacy is present and accounted for here in the trials of Travis McMichael and his father Gregory, and William “Roddie” Bryan, the three men responsible for murdering and lying about details leading up to the death of Ahmaud Arbery.

The Defense in both the Rittenhouse and Arbery cases have really been showing their whole butts, being as White, loud, racist, and wrong as they wanna be, and the judges in both cases have been putting their thumbs in on the scales of justice to stand in solidarity with White Supremacy. Kevin Gough, the racist Defense Attorney defending all three men on trial said in the courtroom this week, “We don’t want any more Black pastors coming in here.” He called out the names of high-profile activists Reverend Jesse Jackson and Reverend Al Sharpton in his request that some have deemed racist.

Why would the Defense Attorney care about who came to show support to the family of Ahmaud Arbery? There are several reasons. It’s part of the code of White Supremacy.

Reasons For the Complaint About Black Clergy

There are several reasons Black clergy have been uninvited from the trial of the father and son murder duo responsible for killing Ahmaud Arbery. I like to break down the code of White Supremacy to help folks get the subliminal messaging White Supremacy is sending to both Black and Whites because so often folks don’t understand Southern Jim Crow Era racism. Allow me to break down the code in this care for you and to compel Black clergy everywhere to disobey White Supremacy’s order and show up during and after the trial.

Asking Black pastors not to show up was an order. I need us to engage in non-compliance. The reasons for the dig at Black pastors in the trial:

  1. Black men intimidate White men. Most White people are afraid of Black people. They spend most of their lives hating people they have zero contact with. Most White men hate us because they are afraid of us. They know there are some areas in our lives where we don’t practice individualism like White people. Many Black people especially in the deep South are creatures of an indigenous type social order stemming from the days of our ancestors’ enslavement. In our social hierarchy, we revere and respect our clergy, even if we don’t participate in religion, most of whom are Black men. Having a bunch of Blackitty Black men converging on a racist little town would make White men in the courtroom feel small, and we can’t have that now, can we? White fear matters.
  2. They don’t want the Black woman/mother to have support. One thing White supremacy does well is alienate Black women from her social support structures. They have us pulled in many different directions and placed in various subgroups which aid in bolstering White Supremacy’s number. Nothing makes a Black woman look weak than being alone or having limited supports in White settings, especially where trials of White Supremacists are taking place. If a lot of strong Black men of faith are surrounding that tiny, beautiful Black mother, again, it leaves White Supremacy unsettled. Just sitting in one space together intimidates White Supremacy.
  3. Black men represent Ahmaud Arbery. The whiter the courtroom, the less White people have to think about Ahmaud Arbery as a decent human being. The disassociation game of White people is unmatched.
  4. Good ole racism. White men don’t want Black men in White power structures. The comment is some Jim Crow shit. Besides, he’s the defense attorney. Gough’s (the Defense Attorney) back is to the onlookers all day. Why does he care if fifty clergymen and women show up to the trial? Racism, that’s why.
  5. It’s a flex. Both the Judge and the Defense Attorney are flexing for their Georgia White power. They want to send a message to Black clergy who have been falling down on the job when it comes to fighting for justice lately. White men need to hide behind the color of the law to control Black people attempting to exercise their rights.
  6. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are White Supremacist whipping boards. White Supremacists will vilify our leaders and clergy until they are dead and gone, then they’ll quote them every time they open their racist mouths. Both Dr. Martin Luther King and Brother Malcolm X were considered radical leaders of the people. The government tried to kill both. The same messages they gave back then are relevant today. Rev. Jesse Jackson was at the side of Dr. King when he was killed. He’s always had a mark on his back. Rev. Al has the same issue. The Alt-Right made the two men villains and they’ve been harassed since. Calling out Rev. Al and Jesse Jackson was an intentional slight. Again, these men have man elders who still answer their calls to mobilize. These racists don’t want the civil rights generation to raise up and come out. Calling out those two clergy members specifically says to other old Black freedom fighters their presence isn’t wanted either.
  7. White men are on code. Like in the Rittenhouse case, White men in the criminal justice system are showing white supremacists everywhere interested in killing Black men what happens after you take the law into your own hands. The Judge and the Defense attorney are showing code works in the courtroom to protect White lives at the expense of Black ones.
  8. America is exporting White Supremacy internationally. Steve Bannon and other White Supremacists are globetrotting the earth teaching White nations and Brown right-leaning countries how to be anti-Black and practice White Supremacy so that they too can subjugate the classes of people they deem inferior. These trials being televised around the globe show White Supremacists what injustice should look and sound like. White Supremacy is a global terror group on nobody’s watch list. Sorry, not sorry.
  9. Overt racism is being normalized (again). Overt racism is being normalized as it was during Jim Crow. White folks love to pretend they have no firm grasp of his history but they can’t seem to let it go. Somehow, generation after generation, we keep going through these phases of extreme overt racism prior to seasons of White mobs and violence, usually directed at Black men attempting to defend themselves or protest violence and oppression peacefully. Sometimes, we’re doing nothing at all. It doesn’t matter to folks engaging in overt racism. Their hate and inability to control their rage must be displayed. In order for them to feel and look big, they must make Black folks look and feel small.

White Supremacy is always dog-whistling to us. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly small, insignificant wordplay and displays of racism happening during the trial for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. The thing to remember is that no matter what the verdicts are in the Arbery or Rittenhouse cases, nothing will substantially change structurally in America — with the exception of White Supremacists being emboldened, of course. White mobs and White violence are a part of the structural racism keeping the system of White Supremacy intact.

Nothing changes in America because White people uphold the code of White Supremacy by getting in line, not chastising the law when it’s behaving badly, and because Black people stay home in fear, choosing to comply with racist, illegitimate requests. Another problem is many People of Color act as if they are exempt from racism, allowing overt displays of racism to happen as they go about their day. As long as they aren’t bothered, they’re cool.

Just remember, today is our day, but tomorrow will be yours because White Supremacy always needs someone to fear and people to subjugate.

White men fear Black men, especially Black men exuding power, and we all know there is nothing like Black men standing in solidarity against White Supremacy. That’s why Black clergy should converge on that trial like Angels of Death to White Supremacy. Black pastors should have their anointing oils and prayer cloths ready to leave at the law office of that defense attorney's steps. The Courthouse should be so cluttered with finely dressed Black clergy that Ahmaud Arbery’s mother can feel their presence inside of that courtroom. Pastors should be outside of her home praying night and day, giving her the strength to look evil in the face daily.

The streets should be so slick with prayer oils that cars could drive. Every step of the courthouse should be anointed by so many Black pastors that when Ahmaud Arbery’s walks into the courthouse she’s walking on a response directly from God. Black pastors should be present because a part of their jobs is to ensure we get justice. Somehow Black pastors stopped fighting for justice, opting to integrate into White Christian coalitions that never truly accepted them. The focus went from justice to prosperity gospel and race relations.

Many Black clergies have forgotten two of the core tenets of the gospel hidden in New Testament scripture — justice, and mercy. Black clergy should show up to the trial to show that White defense attorneys and the judge that they have no power over us. We’re together and we’re not afraid to do justice. They need to show they have mercy for our sister Ms. Arbery. Most importantly, show Black people all over the world how to come together in unity regardless of our backgrounds. This fight is constant. It’s our generation’s time to fight.

Black pastors can lead the charge in a variety of ways. Not just by protesting, but getting involved in communities in other ways to stand up against the dominant society. They’ve been asleep and comfy. It’s time for them to wake up.

Do Justice or Die Trying

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

Matthew 23:23

If you’re a Black pastor and you’re teaching but not practicing justice faithfully in this hour, you’re out of order. Black pastors have sat on the sidelines concerned about their tax-exempt statuses and finances for far too long while the people have been without adequate local leadership and support from our clergy. Church used to be the cornerstone for social justice after slavery and during Jim Crow which is why White Supremacists always bombed them.

Today, many Black churches are nothing more than Ponzi schemes and life centers with no life in them. They serve the people no purpose and Black pastors are treated as if they are kings, shepherds, and princes instead of warriors, teachers, and stewards of people in their communities. Justice is about moral fairness. Black people have been seeking fairness in the areas of Labor, Law, Politics, Religion, Economics, and Education, and even War.

Basically, everything society has to offer its citizens.

Black clergy cannot sit on the sidelines and let the people fight alone. They can’t be missing in action while mothers are grieving children slain by race soldiers. We can’t eliminate racism/White Supremacy while large swaths of Black men, a field overrepresented by Black men, isolate themselves from the rest of society missing from fights promoting justice.

White Supremacy knows the two or three pastors are spread thin trying to be present everywhere while the rest of you act as if it’s someone else job to do justice for us.

Black men and women pastors across the nation should show up in force to make it clear to White Supremacy we don’t take kindly to their commands or threats. Black clergy also need to make clear that it's a new day, and we won’t stand for such overt racism anymore.

It’s time for Black men to stand up and put justice before any and everything you’re overseeing. Praying, tithing, and having conferences and programs to celebrate yourselves are not the only things you’re called to do. Black pastors are called to do justice, and ministers from around the state of Georgia and from around the nation need to start answering the call.

The biggest threats to White Supremacy are Black men. It’s why they berated. It’s why the system seeks to keep Black men and women divided. It’s why our political systems continue to introduce competing subgroups to ensure infighting. More infighting means more divisions. The more divided we are the easier it is to conquer and control us. It works and we help it work by falling into the traps it sets for us. Our ignorance and unwillingness to come together are costing us dearly.

White Supremacy is complex, and the racial component is just one of many aspects of this huge system. We’re also fighting individual racism, racial violence, and ingrained legal systems which make it impossible to convict people of racial violence, all of which permeates our nation. Black men from various ideologies have always stood up to the system.

Black men have lost some spunk lately because of all the attacks and snakes within our ranks. It’s time to get it together and get on the good foot. White Supremacy has your names in its mouth. Black clergy can set things back in order by showing up and setting the tone for Black men across the nation. Coming together to stand in solidarity against White Supremacy is a must.

Most Black men are the only men on earth who fight White Supremacy with the ferocity of lions at all times, those of us not practicing anti-Blackness anyway. We’ve been fighting White men since being placed on ships during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. We’re not getting ready to stop now.

The kind of oppression we experience is unnatural and we’ll reject it until we can’t anymore, which brings me back to Black clergy.

The Defense attorney in the murder trial has summoned Black clergy specifically, asking them to stay away from the trial because they didn’t White Supremacy to be intimidated. Black clergy should go and do justice.

Go stand with the family.

Show up to stare down White Supremacist murderers, the Judge, and the racist Defense Attorney.

Show up to support Ahmaud Arbery's mom. She needs every ounce of support she can get.

Let the criminal justice system know we care about members of our community as much as they care about upholding the institution of White Supremacy.

Black pastors must not only show up and be present at the trial for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, but they also must remain until it ends, and not pray from afar as Pastor Jamal Bryant suggested. Black pastors need to have boots on the ground, bibles in the air, and anointing oils on the streets, steps, and walls of any place that perpetuates and represents White Supremacy.

If overt White Supremacy is to lose power, we must show up and make it powerless. I hope to see Black clergy everywhere next week standing in the gap against White Supremacy. The world is watching and Black folks are waiting.

I hope Black pastors don’t let us down. It’s time for them to do justice, show mercy, and have compassion for our people. Be a threat to evil. The Good Book said so.

“This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.”

~ Zechariah 7:9

Marley K., 2021

I live to make White Supremacy unhappy. Racism isn’t nice, so don’t expect nice here. Buy Merch | www.marleyisms.com/merch | Follow me on Twitter | @MarleyK20 |