Oprah Winfrey has shared her support for Ahmaud Arbery — the 25-year-old who was shot and killed in Georgia while jogging — by taking part in a 2.26-mile walk on May 8. Winfrey posted a video to Instagram depicting her and three walking companions at the walk’s end.
The 66-year-old former talk show host and media executive addressed the camera, explaining they had walked a specific distance in honor of Arbery’s 26th birthday, which would’ve occurred on that date. Winfrey referred to it as a “2.6-mile walk” in the video, however, the Instagram caption indicates a distance of 2.26 miles. Regardless, this message was followed by an emoji illustrating black hands folded in prayer.
Walking arm-in-arm with her partner, Stedman Graham, and two others, Winfrey spoke about their motivations for talking the walk. She and the others emphasized that he would’ve been turning 26 years old that day.
“As a family we walked in the name of justice, in the name of his birthday, and we’re sending blessings to his family.”
The video ends with all four wishing the late Arbery a happy birthday. In the caption, Winfrey made explicit reference to Arbery’s race as a contributing factor in his death.
Winfrey’s video has now been viewed more than 4 million times and has received more than 14,000 comments. Celebrities such as Tom Brady, Ava DuVernay, Jurnee Smollett, and Hilary Swank posted supportive comments and emoji — such as hearts, hands in prayer, and black fists.
Winfrey has also reportedly been in touch with Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones. According to TMZ, she called Cooper-Jones on the date of the walk. Arbery’s mother said Winfrey shared a happy birthday message and condolences for her loss. Cooper-Jones also expressed that she’s received supportive calls from Gayle King and Jesse Jackson.
The media mogul joins many who have spoken out against Arbery’s death. He was shot and killed on February 23 in Brunswick, Georgia while jogging, according to his family. Father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael pursued Arbery, telling police they believed him to be a burglar, NBC News reported.
On May 5, Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Arbery family, shared a video depicting the shooting and the moments right before it. This led to widespread criticism against the McMichaels on social media, who were arrested on May 7. NPR reports that Gregory, 64, and Travis, 34, face charges of murder and aggravated assault.
Other individuals took part in walks and runs on Arbery’s birthday. Many supporters traveled 2.23 miles in a nod to the date of his death, and the hashtags “#IRunwithAhmaud” and “#RunwithAhmaud” have been widely circulating on social media in tribute to the deceased.