PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. . — For 16-year-old Mason Kelly running is his passion.
“He goes out and he runs our neighborhood, four and five miles every evening,” said Kirra Kelly, Mason Kelly’s mother.
Running is how he maintains his spot on the track team at Berean Christian School in West Palm Beach.
But Friday, Mason Kelly pounded the pavement carrying a heavy heart.
“If you can see a person lose their life right in front of you that’s what makes it so real,” Mason Kelly said. “Reality kind of sets in.”
Kelly is referring to a video spreading around social media that appears to show Ahmaud Arbery’s final moments before being shot to death.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Arbery was in the Satilla Shores neighborhood in Brunswick, GA when Gregory and Travis McMichael confronted Arbery with two firearms on February 23. During the encounter,Travis McMichael shot and killed Arbery, prosecutors said. Arbery’s family said the 25-year-old was out jogging.
“It shook me,” Kirra Kelly said.
Kirra Kelly, says it’s a video frightening for a mother to see.
“There was no time that we thought we would have to prepare our three sons to teach them how to properly yield to authority,” she explained. “As these years have passed on we’ve taught them what are the things that you need to say what are the things that you physically need to do with your hands.”
For Mason Kelly’s track coach the video has a different impact— one of empathy.
“Having kids who are African-American it’s not a simple statement to say you can just run from your house because now there’s an eliminate of fear there that I can’t understand as a white man,” John Fix said.
But Mason Kelly said he’s not going to let fear out run him. So he’s running 2.23 miles Friday to honor the life of the young man who can’t.
“I’m so proud that Mason is not going to allow this to deter him from what he loves to do and his passion,” she said. “I’m so proud of him for having the courage to continue on running.”