Jasmine Arbery—the big sister of Ahmaud Arbery who was killed last year while out jogging and being confronted by two armed white men—dedicated her master’s degree to her late brother. The graduate of Albany State University is no stranger to adversity. She was seeking to bring more attention to what happened to Ahmaud, while also using the hashtag #AhmaudArbery on Instagram. In May of 2020, ABC News and countless outlets reported that Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34 were ultimately charged with murder in Ahmaud’s case.
His sister told Action News Jax that she was still shocked by her brother’s death. Jasmine and a group of young people from across the country participated in a virtual town hall on social justice and the criminal justice system in the U.S., according to the report. She also stated that she wanted her brother’s voice to shine through her, but Jasmine also mentioned her plan to earn her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling, while keeping her slain brother in mind.
“Growing up in South Georgia, Brunswick Georgia people believed that we weren’t adequate enough to be well-spoken or graduate in the top of our class. People assumed that we don’t know any better honestly,” Jasmine said in the interview.
Jasmine did not give up. Her educational goal ended in victory. Weeks ago, she turned to Instagram to post her recent accomplishment.
“Whew! A journey is not great unless you find what you seek. My journey was filled with many challenges that included working two jobs, a natural disaster, the tragic loss of my brother, a pandemic, giving birth, anxiety, grief and issues with my financial aid. But I am proud to say those challenges equal the factors that will make me an excellent therapist. I have the opportunity to offer support based on real life experiences. In just a few days I will be graduating with a Master’s degree specializing in Clinical Mental Health Counseling! I ooze #BlackGirlMagic,” Jasmine said on Instagram. “I dedicate this degree to my brother #AhmaudArbery. The ceremony is held on your birthday and you always believed in me! #BlackLivesMatter.”
The Brunswick News previously reported that the Georgia-based Community Action Youth Leadership Initiative (CAYLI) presented a scholarship created for Jasmine to her, in honor of Ahmaud.
“Last semester was incredibly challenging to me,” Jasmine said in the interview. “I physically lost a loved one. I found out I was pregnant. A pandemic appeared. And I was facing challenges with my financial aid at school.”
According to the article, Jasmine decided to donate the scholarship money which amounted to $16,801, back to Community Action to create an endowment for a scholarship, despite facing her own extreme obstacles. Jasmine’s spirit of perseverance is truly a heartwarming tribute to her brother.