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NASW’s Statement on the Arbery Verdict

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) appreciates the jury verdict reached regarding the death of Ahmaud Arbery. However, while the three white defendants charged with his murder were found guilty, this legal outcome does not negate the profoundly broken nature of our legal system nor does it erase the epidemic of racial trauma sustained by communities of color across this country.

Ahmaud Arbery’s life and death exists within a deeply entrenched narrative of systemic racism. The tragedy of Arbery’s life being cut short at the age of 25 is yet another illustration of violence spawned by the toxic fusion of racial profiling and white supremacy. A guilty verdict in the absence of sustained structural change that centers racial justice hardly mitigates the likelihood that this tragic narrative will be repeated. The irrevocable loss of Ahmaud Arbery – a son, a brother, and a friend – also remains unchanged. We must remain steadfast in uplifting that his life mattered.


NASW recognizes too that the relentless exposure to these traumatic stories of lives lost to racism brings with it continued harm to the mental health and well-being of communities of color. We remain committed to extending support and compassion to our expansive community and unwavering in our advocacy for racial justice.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.