Ahmaud Arbery Foundation launched on what would have been his 27th birthday

STONECREST, Ga. — On what would have been Ahmaud Arbery’s 27th birthday, activists, friends and family members held a special drive-up festival to celebrate his life and launched a foundation in his name.

Channel 2′s Audrey Washington was at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Stonecrest, where she spoke with Arbery’s mother.

Wanda Cooper-Jones said the celebration was exactly what her son would have wanted.

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Dubbed the Ahmaud Arbery Financial and Mental Freedom Drive-Up Festival, the event featured live music, some giveaways and donations to the Ahmaud Arbery Foundation, which launched Saturday.

The goal of the foundation is to focus on minorities 7-17 years old and help with financial literacy and mental and physical wellness. It’s something Cooper-Jones said her son was passionate about.

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“The fight for justice for Ahmaud has really been a battle,” Cooper-Jones said. “We first went 74 days without any arrests. Last year on his birthday, we had only had the arrests within two days, so I wasn’t able to celebrate his life at that point. But things have settled down. It’s bittersweet, but I just wanted to celebrate his life today.”

Rapper Young Joc was among the crowd at the event.

“I think it’s great,” the rapper said. “It think it’s a thing to create a narrative for change.”

Organizer DeJuana Thompson said they are glad for the celebrity support.

“So we’re super excited as celebrities come up, as it’s his legacy cemented, as we continue to fight for justice,” Thompson said.

Three men are accused of murdering Arbery, then 25, as he jogged through a Glynn County neighborhood. The trial for Greg and Travis McMichael and William “Roddy” Bryan starts in October.

Cooper-Jones said she would be inside that courtroom for the jury selection and for every single day of the trial.

“Hug your boys. Hug your girls,” Cooper-Jones said. “Embrace every moment.”

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