“I am a Black man who jogs” was written by Augustus Turner.
Mr. Turner retains all copyright to the image and content; it is republished here with his permission. This post was originally published on the website of the law firm of Attig | Curran | Steel, PLLC, and is merely syndicated on the Veterans Law Blog®.
Augustus Turner is a husband, a father, a soldier, and an attorney.
He currently serves as Judge Advocate in the U.S. Army.
Mr. Turner has worked as a Former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Dept of Justice. He received his Juris Doctorate (JD) in Law at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, and a Master of Laws (LL. M.) at the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School.
The Veterans Law Blog® expresses our deep gratitude to our colleague and “brother-in-arms” for giving us permission to publish his writing. As a small gesture of our gratitude, the Veterans Law Blog® has made a donation of $250 in honor of Augustus Turner to the United Negro College Fund.
Please join the Veterans Law Blog® in condemning the systematic oppression of Black people. It is critical that veterans purge racists and White Supremacists from our ranks. To do that, we must all stand up, acknowledge out loud that Black Lives Matter, and take visible action that manifests that truth.
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I am a black man who jogs.
When I jog, I always do so alone. I am also a Soldier, and a large one at that (about 6’2 240 lbs). This means every few years, I have to move to a completely new suburb, and jog, alone. This means that I, like every Soldier, is used to jogging alone, in new places, where people may not recognize, know, or be familiar with me. I am used to it. My wife is not.
For nearly ten years, my wife cautioned me about how I appear when I jog alone. She will not even let me out of the house unless I wear enough colorful and “innocent” clothing so as not to appear suspicious or threatening when I jog. While she has never said it directly, I know that every time I step out the door, she is afraid my appearance alone could get me killed.
Sometimes, in the back of my head, I foolishly think to myself:
I am just a black man who jogs!
I am a good person! Why would somebody shoot me just because I am black and unfamiliar? I am a former EMT. I volunteered in an emergency room for over a year to get my way into college. I have been a licensed attorney and active duty Army Officer for nine years. I have represented and helped over 60 sexual assault victims. I have run a legal aid clinic recognized as one of the best in the Army. I have worked with federal agents to put countless criminals behind bars and break up complex criminal enterprises. I helped justify the destruction of hundreds of enemy targets in Iraq. I have cleared the names of wrongfully convicted criminals. Who would want to hurt me?
Well, none of that matters because…
I am still a black man who jogs.
If I frighten the wrong white person, or match the description of a threatening person…
I become no different from Ahumaud Arbery.
None of the good I have done in my life will stop a white vigilante mob from chasing me in their trucks, cocking their firearms as they approach me jogging, gunning me down, recording it, and apparently getting away with it.
Although I am a black man who jogs, please… treat me like a white man who jogs.
— Augustus Turner