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Ahmaud Arbery’s Mom BLASTS Friends & Fundraisers For Profiting Off Of His Death + Naomi Osaka Wears Ahmaud Arbery Mask, Wins U.S. Open Match

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Ahmaud Arbery’s mom, Wanda Cooper-Jones, is no longer staying silent! She’s blasting everyone who’s making money off the death of her son. Find out what she said, plus see tennis star Naomi Osaka in her Ahmaud Arbery mask before winning her match at the U.S. Open inside…

It’s bad enough Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, is dealing with the tragic lost of her son after he was hunted and gunned down in the street by two white men while out for a jog in February. Now, she’s dealing with people profiting from her son’s tragic death.

Apparently, Ahmaud’s best friend - Akeem Baker – is one of the people making money from Wanda’s son’s death. And she has had enough.

Ahmaud’s mom went on Twitter to announce she is NOT affiliated with The 2:23 Foundation’s “I Run With Maud” Labor Day campaign. In fact, she's not affiliated with the foundation at all.

”I am deeply saddened & grieved that a foundation in Georgia rooted in the image, likeness, life, & death of my son, Ahmaud, was started without my permission or blessing,” she tweeted. “I do not approve of their work or their fundraising and have asked that they stop.”

S. Lee Merritt – an attorney representing the Arbery family – tweeted something similar:

”No one should ever raise money or launch an initiative about the death of a person without the clear support of their family,” he tweeted. “Wanda Cooper should not be begging men from her community to honor her request concerning her son #AhmaudArbery. Wanda is grieving. Honor her wishes.”

In the about section on The 2:23 Foundation’s Facebook page, it reads: “This page was created to help bring awareness on the tragic killing of the innocent Ahmaud Arbery, who was chased and gunned down on February 23rd, 2020 by Travis and Greg McMichael who sought to take the law into their own hands. The 2:23 Foundation exists to continue that advocacy to help young men and women pursue paths to help avoid similar occurrences and instances of injustice.”

According to reports, Ahmad’s best friend Akeem came to her about the “I Run With Maud” idea and at first she was on board. However, she didn’t like how the memorial for her son is now being ran more like a business. Also, Wanda said someone who never even knew Ahmaud has filed for the “I Run With Maud” trademark. No mention of who the person is.

It’s reported Akeem – who gave an emotional and gut wrenching interview following his friend’s death – launched a GoFundMe page for Ahmaud that she said she never asked him to do. The fundraiser has raised almost $2 million ($1,988,340 to be exact) in funds and the page claims the money is going to Wanda.

”This fundraiser was designed to assist Ahmaud's mother; Ms. Wanda Cooper-Jones and her immediate family with financial support during this extreme difficult time and in their struggle for justice for the murder of Ahmaud Marquez Arbery," the fundraiser wrote.

It’s unclear if Wanda has actually been awarded any of the funds, but she told TMZ she’s already back to work.

Ahmaud’s mother also has an issue with the 2:23 Foundation, which was founded by Jason Vaughn – a local high school coach who Wanda said did not have a close relationship with Ahmaud when he was alive. Jason’s brother, Arkansas attorney John C. Richards, Jr., is also involved. The foundation got its name from the date Ahmaud was killed, February 23rd, as he jogged through a neighborhood in Brunswick, GA.

“This foundation did not have my blessings,” she told WSB-TV. “Everybody who has supported us thus far, thank you.”

The foundation has scheduled a “I RUN WITH MAUD” event over the Labor Day Weekend and Ahmaud’s mother asked everyone NOT to support.

“I would want to ask everyone that hears this message to not fund it,” Cooper-Jones said.

The 2:23 Foundation told WSB-TV that they “made Wanda Cooper-Jones aware of our intention to create a page to continue to pursue justice and discuss action step,” and, “She said it was fine.”

“I learned about the foundation the same day, the same time the world found out about it, and that was on social media,” Wanda told the local news station.

On Facebook, the 2:23 Foundation addressed the name change:

We are well aware there is a community of people who are coming over to our page to sow discord. Our team has always...

Posted by The 2:23 Foundation on Friday, September 4, 2020

"We have every intention of changing the name of this page from I Run With Maud to the 2:23 Foundation. As you can see, the profile picture and URL have already been changed," the foundation wrote in a FB post. "However, Facebook has certain requirements to fulfill a page name request (Google it, it's a thing). We initiated the request process on August 29th when we announced the name change. However, Facebook has requested a few other items to make the change. We have submitted those and are awaiting approval. In other words, we are not intentionally retaining any image, likeness, or name in our continued work. Social justice advocacy is bigger than a four-word phrase."

They addressed the controversy more in another post:

 

Official Statement from the 2:23 Foundation Recently, our team was made aware of a social media post that questioned...

Posted by The 2:23 Foundation on Thursday, September 3, 2020

 

"Early in the process, on April 4th to be precise, we made Wanda Cooper-Jones aware of our intention to create a page to continue to pursue justice and discuss action steps for the local community. She said it was fine with her," the page wrote.

"Our intention from the beginning was simple: Pursue justice for Ahmaud. Our team has not benefited financially from any of the work we have done to do just that. In fact, we have spent our own money to help pursue justice. And we have gotten the support from Maud’s family in the process."

"We are saddened that someone would use a public space to spread misinformation about our work and the nature of our relationship. But we could not remain silent, for the sake of the work many of you have partnered with us to do and the work we will continue to do for justice in and around our state."

"Currently, we are not using Maud’s name or likeness in our organization. But pursuing justice for a person and for a community is something that Glynn County as a whole is committed to doing moving forward. We will continue to pursue #JusticeForAhmaud and pursue social justice advocacy and awareness for our community and across our state. Our movement has moved from a local one to one that could impact our entire state."

Read the full response above.

For Wanda, it’s not about the money - she wants justice. She said no amount of money can bring her son back.

“It’s never been about money to us,” Wanda said. "My most immediate job now is to get justice for Ahmaud.”

Earlier this month, Ahmaud’s suspected killers, Travis and Gregory McMicahel (son & father), filed separate motions for bond. They also filed to have two charges dropped. Their attorneys want the malice murder charge and the criminal attempt to commit a felony removed.

The father-son duo has pleaded not guilty to all charges, which include malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony.

William “Roddie” Bryan – the third suspect who recorded the murder – was denied bond in July.

Meanwhile...

Tennis star Naomi Osaka is still raising awareness about police brutality and social injustice. After wearing masks with the names of victims Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain, the two-time Grand Slam champion (who's Japanese & Haitian) rocked a mask with Ahmaud Arbery's name on it for Friday's U.S. Open match against Marta Kostyuk. She beat Marta - 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-2 in the third round at Flushing Meadows. Woot!

“I’m aware that tennis is watched all over the world, and maybe there is someone that doesn’t know Breonna Taylor’s story,” the No. 4 seed said after her victory. “Maybe they’ll Google it or something. For me, [it’s] just spreading awareness. I feel like the more people know the story, then the more interesting or interested they’ll become in it.”

In total, Naomi brought seven masks with her to the U.S. Open to honor victims of violence.

“It’s quite sad that seven masks isn’t enough for the amount of names,” added Osaka, the 2018 U.S. Open and 2019 Australian Open champion. “Hopefully I’ll get to the finals and you can see all of them.”

Here's footage and pics of Naomi rocking Breonna Taylor and Elijah McCain masks previously:

Last month...

Naomi pulled out of her semifinal match at the Western & Southern Open in New York City to join athletes across several major sports in protesting racial injustice.

We love a conscious queen.

Tonight, Naomi will battle it out against Anett Kontaveit in the fourth round.

Photo: AP Photo/Seth Wenig/Arbery Family

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