Adidas spotlights Wanda Cooper-Jones’ efforts to keep son Ahmaud Arbery’s name alive in powerful documentary

Cooper-Jones established the Ahmaud Arbery Foundation in her son's honor in 2021, aiming to teach Black males ages 10 to 18 the importance of physical and mental health and provide them secure places to run freely.

It’s been four years since a white father-and-son duo killed Ahmaud Arbery while he was jogging in Glynn County, Georgia — and his mother continues keeping his memory alive.

In 2021, Wanda Cooper-Jones established the Ahmaud Arbery Foundation in remembrance of her son with the goal of providing secure locations for Black boys and teens, aged 10 to 18, to run freely.

Adidas spotlighted the efforts and impact of Cooper-Jones and eight other revolutionary Black women in its four-part “Create with Purpose” documentary series, the organization shared in a release.

Ahmaud Arbery
Wanda Cooper-Jones displays a T-shirt as she attends the Adidas “Create With Purpose” premiere on Feb. 29 at the Roxy Hotel in New York City. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for Adidas)

“Ahmaud had some mental challenges that he was facing, and he used running as a sense of therapy,” Cooper-Jones said in the documentary. “My first idea was to be a resource for Black boys in the areas of physical and mental well-being.” 

In 2022, the foundation established a scholarship fund and awarded $5,000 to six students who, like Arbery, graduated from Brunswick High School. The foundation handed out three more scholarships in the same amount this year.

The foundation also raises money through the Run with Maud 5K in downtown Atlanta, which usually takes place days before Arbery’s birthday, in collaboration with the Atlanta Track Club.

“I had some very, very dark days,” Cooper-Jones said. “Prayer was all I had. I had come to terms that Ahmaud wasn’t going to come back, which was very, very hard. I knew deep down in my heart that Ahmaud hadn’t did anything wrong, and it was my job as a mom to fight for justice for him. But I had to come up with something that would also make a difference in the community, where people would still call his name.”

Produced under Adidas’ Honoring Black Excellence program — which celebrates Black culture and individuals for their accomplishments — “Create with Purpose” serves as a means for HBE to provide honorees with their “flowers while they are still here.”

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Cooper-Jones shared that she continues speaking with her therapist every two weeks as she fights and pushes through everything she’s been through in the past few years.

She also emphasized the importance of self-care as a means of maintaining a connection to her deceased son.

“Ahmaud used to tell me all the time that I was pretty. It’s very important for me to continue to be pretty for Ahmaud. I do take time to go to a spa,” said Cooper-Jones. “I still get my nails done, my hair done. I only do those things for me because I know that’s what Ahmaud would like me to continue doing.”

Adidas released a shoe in Arbery’s honor in addition to featuring Cooper-Jones in the documentary. In an Instagram post, Cooper-Jones expressed her gratitude to Adidas for the “incredible collaboration,” stating that the brand represents support and solidarity.

The determined mother said the collaboration demonstrates the strength of unity in bringing about constructive change in our neighborhoods.

“By wearing the Ahmaud Arbery’s by Adidas, we carry Ahmaud’s legacy with us, standing in solidarity for justice and equality,” Cooper-Jones wrote. “It’s a powerful reminder that we are not alone in this fight and that change is possible when we work together.”

Cooper-Jones and the Ahmaud Arbery Foundation will be able to support and deliver programming for future Black athletes and leaders with HBE.

“Let’s continue to shed light on the importance of supporting causes that matter and using our platforms to create a brighter future for all,” Cooper-Jones added via Instagram. “Together, we can make a difference.”

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