Home / Entertainment / Ahmaud Arbery: Mother says fundraising takes advantage of her son’s death

Ahmaud Arbery: Mother says fundraising takes advantage of her son’s death

The video attracted widespread public attention and protesters gathered outside the courthouse after a preliminary hearing on the case was heard, according to CNN partner WJXT, “All lives matter when black lives matter”.

A registered trademark, foundation, GoFundMe account and Facebook page have been created in memory of Arbery since the shoot. But some of those who created it are now at odds with the mother of the dead.

“Money cannot replace what I have lost and the fight for justice is not without cost. I did not beg for money and I was ready to fight for my son. I always worked for what I wanted,” said Wanda Cooper-Jones.

“I run with Maud”

In the weeks leading up to the arrest of Arbery̵

7;s accused killers, the I Run With Maud Facebook page emerged as a resource for thousands of people around the world demanding justice for Arbery. The site, managed by Arbery’s childhood friend, Akeem Baker, kept the followers busy and caused them to keep the call for action up.

It also inspired many to dedicate 2.23 miles to Arbery fundraiser, the distance that commemorates the date of his death on February 23rd. Social media had become a valuable tool for gathering support at a time when mass gatherings were being discouraged or banned in the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

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But Cooper-Jones said in a long Facebook post earlier this month that although she initially approved of the social media page as a memorial – and appreciated its original intentions – she now sees it as “more of a business opportunity for theirs Employee “looks instead of getting justice for my son. “

Cooper-Jones’ post goes on to say that she made multiple requests to get access to the site as an administrator, but they were denied. CNN has repeatedly requested comments from the site’s current administrators but has received no response.

The Facebook page, originally called “I Run With Maud”, has recently been renamed. It now operates under the title “The 2:23 Foundation”. It is also registered as a nonprofit in Georgia under the name Jason Vaughn, a former Arbery high school football coach.

A statement announcing the rebranding explained the reasons for the move. “What we didn’t know were the layers of injustice that encompassed more than just our hometown, but extended to the state assembly. What started as a local movement has now become something that can affect the lives of many young men and women of color in our state, “quoted the football coach Vaughn.

Those who do it say the rebranding wasn’t the result of a rift with Cooper-Jones. “The rebranding was done to formalize the work we’d done as a group,” said John C. Richards Jr., co-founder of the foundation and Vaughn’s brother, in an email to CNN.

Cooper-Jones said Vaughn didn’t have a close relationship with her son. Three other members of the original committee were also not involved in promoting justice for Arbery. “(They) have known for months that I didn’t want my child’s death to be exploited for anyone or used for monetary gain. I was disrespected and ignored,” said Cooper-Jones in her post.

Little did Marcus Arbery Sr., Ahmaud Arbery’s father, know that a foundation had been set up because of the renaming of the Facebook page.

Vaughn did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Trademark registration

On May 9, two days after two of the three men were arrested in Arbery’s murder, family and friends gathered in Braunschweig to celebrate Ahmaud Arbery’s 26th birthday weekend. On the same day a trademark application was filed for “I Run With Maud,” which lists an address in Little Rock, Arkansas. US Patent and Trademark Office records show Akeem Baker, Arbery’s childhood friend, and John C. Richards, Vaughn’s brother, as claimants.

Runners around the world dedicated 2.23 miles to shooting the victim Ahmaud Arbery

“We had an arrest (and within 48 hours) these people are applying for a trademark,” said Cooper-Jones.

In a Facebook post, the foundation says it has protectively registered the trademark to deter others from applying for it.

Repeated attempts to ask Akeem Baker for comment have been unsuccessful. Richards declined to speak over the phone, citing a statement previously posted on the Foundation’s website.

“Since one of our team members uttered the phrase, we registered the name as a trademark to preserve it for Ahmaud Arbery’s mother AND father who are heirs to his estate. We were asked to give this trademark to Wanda Cooper-Jones and Us can’t do this with a clear conscience as Marcus Arbery (Ahmaud Arbery’s father) is not listed as a beneficiary for the GoFundMe funds … Currently two of our team members are in the process of registering for the brand and we intend to continue to give you Mr Arbery something we believe would honor his son’s legacy, “the statement reads.

Cooper-Jones told CNN that she had no problem with Marcus Arbery Sr. being listed on the brand. When reached over the phone, Arbery Sr. said Baker recently told him he was transferring the brand, but no details were discussed.

Trademark registration was conditionally approved as of this week, specifying Baker and Richards as owners. Cooper-Jones and her attorney S. Lee Merritt say they plan to dispute the registration. You have the next four weeks to do this according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office protocols.

“We shouldn’t be trying to add more heartache and stress to a mother who recently lost her son. And it’s a shame these people in her community are making her go through these hoops,” Merritt said.

GoFundMe campaign

When Arbery’s death became national news, Baker created a GoFundMe campaign aiming to raise $ 100,000 and named Cooper-Jones as the sole beneficiary.

“All donations go to the fight for justice and to ensure that Ahmaud’s mother has the resources she needs,” read the description of the May 3 campaign.

Cooper-Jones told CNN that the campaign was created after Baker asked her permission multiple times and she eventually gave her consent.

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With more than 61,000 people donating nearly $ 2 million, the campaign remains active. Cooper-Jones, who has since returned to work, told CNN she had life insurance for Ahmaud – claiming her goal has always been to get justice for her son and not use his death to raise money .

Other GoFundMe campaigns have been screened for fraud in the past. The crowdfunding website is investigating allegations of criminal activity such as fraud, identity theft and the publication of misleading statements about the campaign. It does not investigate campaigns that exceeded their fundraising goals, resulted in family disputes, or the use of names without family permission.

A GoFundMe spokesperson told CNN that beneficiaries could opt out of a campaign either by asking the promoter or by contacting GoFundMe. Cooper-Jones told CNN she did not know the campaign was still active. She says she is grateful for the donations made in honor of her son.

Currently, Cooper-Jones says she is awaiting the date of a trial she hopes will bring her son’s accused murderers to justice.

“My goal was to put every hand that was involved in the murder of my boy in prison. Everyone that was involved. That is my goal. I want justice for my baby. My baby is there in the cemetery that I visit once a week, “she said.

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