“On February 23, 2022, the state of Georgia honors one of its most distinguished citizens,” reads the resolution, which describes Arbery as a loving son, brother, and athlete, “from the senseless loss of his life because of the color of his skin.”

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It added that Arbery, who was born in Brunswick, Georgia, was “a compassionate and generous man” who “left an impact on countless Georgians and Americans.”

Wednesday marks the second anniversary of his death.

The day will be marked locally with prayer vigils and memorial services. The state legislature also encouraged people in the community to run 2.23 miles in his memory.

The Ahmaud Arbery Foundation, founded by his mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, to honor his legacy and “support black boys. . . with access to resources for mental well-being,” also encourages people to “pause” for 23 seconds in his memory on Wednesday or consider a $23 donation to the foundation.

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Birgit Smith Burton, the foundation’s executive director, called the appointment “an honorable gesture” and emailed the Washington Post that it was a “step in the right direction for the state of Georgia.”

“We are grateful to the leaders who are using their position and influence to ensure Georgia does what is right in Ahmaud’s memory,” she added.

The first Ahmaud Arbery Day comes a day after a federal jury convicted three white men of hate crimes when they stalked and killed Arbery – the first race-based conviction in one of the high-profile killings of black people that sparked mass protests in 2020.

A jury found the men, Gregory McMichael, 66; Travis McMichael, 36; and William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, who pleaded guilty to all federal charges: use of force and threats of force to intimidate and interfere with Arbery’s right to use a public road because of his race, and attempted kidnapping.

Defense attorneys claimed the men tried to stop and question Arbery, not because of his race but because the McMichaels suspected him of trespassing on a neighbor’s property in their subdivision on the Georgia coast. US District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood said she will determine her federal sentences in the coming weeks.

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After the verdict, Cooper-Jones said outside the courthouse, “Ahmaud will continue to rest in peace, but he will now begin to rest in power.”

She added, “We as a family will never achieve victory because Ahmaud is gone forever.”

The state legislature also noted that Georgia had repealed a “19th-century civil detention law” that the defense relied on and was widely criticized for helping to legitimize decades of racist vigilantism. It also said lawmakers had previously introduced a Hate Crime Act aimed at punishing hate crimes in the state.

“February 23 will forever be known in the state of Georgia as Ahmaud Arbery Day,” the legislation reads.