CORAL SPRINGS, FL - Since the shutdown, I have used my mornings to go running.
I don't wear a Commissioner Simmons shirt and I don't carry any identification. I simply get up, put my running clothes on and head out. I wish I could say that all I think about is running and meeting my goals, but sadly, as a Black man, I think about much more.
I think about if someone is looking at me through their windows wondering why I am running, if I am running away from something, or if I look threatening.
I wonder that if I pause to catch a breather while running, will someone think I am lingering and take it upon themselves to question me.
I wonder if I fit the description because of my appearance.
I wonder if someone will think I am chasing them or running towards them to do them harm because of my skin.
I wonder if this run will be the day that I do not make it home because of someone's sense of entitlement and ignorance.
What happened to #AhmaudArbery was senseless, tragic, unnecessary, and wildly barbaric.
Seeing a Black man jogging shouldn't make you want to grab your weapons, get in your car and hunt that individual down. Mr. Arbery's skin color matters, because too often Black skin is seen as less than and therefore anything that comes from that skin deserves less protection and rights.
I don't know how we stop this, legislation won't bring Mr. Arbery back. Legislation will not heal his family. All they can get know is justice and closure, but Mr. Arbery will no longer be with them.
Enough is enough. Check your biases, engage with your thoughts, and seek to improve yourself from within. We must stop people from being killed when they are exercising their freedom to exist. #RunWithAhmaud
Joshua A. Simmons is a Coral Springs City Commissioner and a teacher at Coral Springs High School.
(Editor's note: Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was on his regular run through Brunswick, Georgia, when he encountered an armed white father and son on February 23. After a struggle, Arbery was shot and killed. A video of the fight and shooting was posted online this week.)