Ahmaud Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, is using her platform to speak out against an organization she feels is using her son's likeness without her permission. Cooper-Jones claims that the 2:23 Foundation has violated an initial agreement that was made in September 2020.
Shortly after Arbery was killed in Georgia, dozens of organizations sought to honor the late Georgia resident. One organization, I Run With Maud, quickly gained steam. Encouraging supporters to run 2.23 miles like Arbery and seek justice for the late athlete, the Facebook page grew into a larger platform and rebranded as the 2:23 Foundation. As time went on, Cooper-Jones asked that the organization stop using Arbery's likeness to raise funds. On the one-year anniversary of Arbery's death, the organization raised more than $200,000. Now, Cooper-Jones is seeking legal action.
"Good morning, America. You were just robbed for $226,000 in Ahmaud Arbery’s name by the 2:23 Foundation. The 2:23 Foundation continues to feign support for 'the family' but persists on raising money against Ahmaud’s mother's specific request and their legal agreement to cease and desist," attorney S. Lee Merritt tweeted.
Backed by Arbery's childhood friend, Akeem Baker, and his former football coach, John Vaughn, the 2:23 Foundation issued a response. The organization also claimed that Arbery's father had supported the 2:23 Foundation.
“From the beginning, we have been fully supportive of Wanda Cooper-Jones. Our team has gone to great lengths to ensure she was aware of the work we were doing to help pursue justice for Ahmaud. We have addressed this on a previous occasion and are disheartened that we have to once again present factual evidence about the integrity of our work. But the work is too important for uninformed, disingenuous social media tweets to continue to disrupt our local activism," the 2:23 Foundation stated.
The 2:23 Foundation also noted that it helped raised $2 million for Cooper-Jones and registered the "I Run With Maud" slogan in her name.
“Locally, the people know the truth. And we hope soon that this matter will be resolved amicably for the sake of the future work and to properly honor a young man whose memory we all are trying to keep alive," the group added.
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