The Jena 6 need your support – Racism in small town LA

We’ve heard this story before, from the Scottsboro boys to Marcus Dixon. I’d like to say that I’m surprised that there was a White’s only tree on a high school campus in Louisiana, but I’m not. I’d like to say that I’m surprised that the DA is a racist pig who threatened the lives of several black teen protesters (reported on Democracy Now.  They interviewed parents of the teens.)  However, what I am not surprised about is the lack of coverage that this story is getting.  The Duke rape case was in the news for a year, but I’ve seen nothing on this.  I’ll just add it to the list of news stories that have gotten “separate but equal” style coverage from major media, stories where white victims warrant more air time and black victims may get a quick side note…if any.  I guess you have to be “Nichole Richie” black (I assume she is black…biracial…although I’ve never really heard it mentioned much in the news) to get some air time.

Sign the Petition.  Call your local news station and tell them to do a story.  Email CNN, the major networks, your favorite bloggers, Anderson Cooper, 60 Minutes…etc.  Tell your co-workers and friends about this outrageous miscarriage of justice.

Here’s the story:

Tragedy: Jena’s “White’s Only” Tree
By Kam Williams – August 18th, 2007

On August 31st of last year, a small group of Black freshman at Jena High School approached the assistant principal to ask whether it was okay for them to enjoy the shade under a big tree located in what had come to be considered the “white only” section of the schoolyard.

His response was that they could “sit wherever they wanted.” Relying on those words, they did just that, trusting that, should any controversy arise, the administration would support their effort to eradicate this offensive vestige of de facto segregation.

But Jena, population 3,000, is a backwards, backwoods Louisiana town, and when three nooses were found swaying from the tree the very next day, the African-American community complained to anybody who would listen that the hanging ropes amounted to a hate crime given the South’s sinful legacy of lynching. And although the culprits were caught, the city’s school superintendent excused the racist attempt at intimidation by saying “Adolescents play pranks. I don’t think it was a threat against anybody.”

So, on September 5th, the Black students organized a peaceful sit-in under the “white tree” in protest of the slap on the wrist doled out to the perpetrators. The next morning, an impromptu school assembly was convened during which District Attorney Reed Walters icily stared in the direction of the African-Americans, all sitting together, warning them not to stage any further demonstrations. Furthermore, he concluded by leveling this thinly-veiled threat, “I can make your lives disappear with a stroke of my pen.”

Starting on September 7th, the halls of Jena High were patrolled by the police, and on the 8th the school was placed under complete lockdown. Several dozen Black parents attempted to address the next meeting of the school board, on the 10th, but all were refused an opportunity to speak because the board considered “the noose issue” to have been addressed satisfactorily and fully resolved.

Nevertheless, over the Fall, confrontations continued to escalate, mostly a reign of terror on the part of white vigilantes, including an incident in which Black students had to wrestle a white adult wielding a shotgun to the ground. But rather than arrest the assailant, the prosecutor reportedly winked and returned the weapon to the latter-day Klansman. In fact, the officer of the law saw no reason to intervene until December 4th when he charged a half-dozen African-American students dubbed the Jena 6 with attempted murder after they allegedly got the better of some whites in a fight in the school cafeteria.

Mychal Bell, 17, the first of the classmates to go on trial, was quickly convicted in a kangaroo court by an all-white jury presided over by a white judge in less than three hours. Now, he’s facing 22 years in prison.

Before DA Walters follows through on his promise to ruin the lives of his co-defendants, too, let’s just pray that CBS’ 60 Minutes and the rest of the mainstream media intervene to question Walters’ motivations and embark on as earnest an effort to make mincemeat of his career as they did to disgraced Durham DA Mike Nifong for his overzealous prosecution of the Duke Lacrosse case.

Stay tuned for a showdown that is shaping up as a landmark decision on whether justice in America can be colorblind or if Southern trees will continue to bear strange fruit.

8 Comments

Filed under african american, angry, black, injustice, media, news, opinion, racism, society, television, white folks

8 responses to “The Jena 6 need your support – Racism in small town LA

  1. Thank you for sharing information on the Jena 6. Mychal Bell has a court hearing later this week. That will be the next milestone.

    peace, Villager

  2. Teresha Connors

    My mom told me about this, incident yesterday picking me up from a class. It is outrageous that in the year 2007 students must still deal with these types of issues. Segregation is wrong, plain and simple. In a world that is moving more towards globliation, tolerance is the staus quo. This town is full of backwards people who probably don’t leave that town very often, for if they did it would be pure hell for them.
    This issue cannot and must not be ignored. I’m also suprised to find that no one has talked about this issue on the news , but imagine the surprise and the outcome if the US spot light was put on this town. My outrage is calmed by the pity of feel for all . Those who are subject to such ignorance, and those that are ignorant. They have a hard lesson to learn in this world and we should all pay attention.

  3. Renee

    Just heard about this today on the Steve Harvey Morning Show. I’m in California and can’t believe what I’m hearing! I am forwarding this to as many people as I can. We cannot sit back and do nothing. I know the world will know about this and this stain and dirty deed will be over-turned. I trust and believe GOD will open the gates on this one. It will take time, but JUSTICE will prevail! Keep the faith!

  4. John Belton

    this is so sad in this day and age that young blacks in the south are still going thru this kind of madness god please be w/ the JENA 6

  5. KAYLA ROSE

    THE ADDRESS WHERE YOU CAN SEND DONATIONS FOR THE FAMILIES, SO THAT THEY CAN AFFORD TO HAVE BETTER REPRENSENTATION IS AS FOLLOWS:
    JENA 6 DEFENSE COMMITTE
    P.O.BOX 2798
    JENA, LA 71342

    TO WRITE MYCHAL BELL WHO IS STILL LOCKED UP:
    MYCHAL BELL
    INMATE, A-DORM
    La SALLE CORRECTIONAL CENTER
    15976 HIGHWAY 165
    OLLA, LA 71465-4801

    EMAIL: JENA6DEFENSE@GMAIL.COM

    PLEASE SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH FRIENDS, FAMILY, CHURCH MEMBERS, WHO EVER IS WILLING TO LISTEN AND ALSO DONATE, AND SEND LETTERS OF SUPPORT. WE MUST BE NOT JUST A RACE OF PEOPLE, BUT A NATION OF PEOPLE WHO STANDS TO FIGHT FOR CHANGE.

  6. Steve

    Hello,
    I very please folks are making such a big deal about the Jena Six. For too long the silent majority has sat as idol hostages to this ridiculous PC-hypocrisy of making a huge issue out of any perceived slight of a white man to any black person. All the while, the hip hop/victim culture is running rampant through our country, literarily destroying inner cities, completely destroying inner city schools, filling our jails and morgues, dominating nightly news with innumerable reports of black on black or black on white shootings. Compared to all this, the Jena Six is but a pimple on the bottom of a single plankton in a sea of utter dysfunction.

    But does the NAACP confront these large issues? No. Instead they have some ridiculous conference about the “N” word– come on, give me a break! Where are the priorities? Me and many more Americans are getting fed up with this type hypocrisy and soon the pendulum that’s been swinging out of control in one direction will swing back to a more neutral, realistic position. The segment of the black community that supports the Jena Six needs to get off their behinds and quit blaming the white man for their issues and dysfunctions and look closely in the mirror.

    And another thing, I’m not for racism on any side, white or black, but I see racism is rampant in segments of the black community. To me any organization based on race is racist and the black community pretty much has that market cornered.

    The town of Jena, like the Alamo, needs our support and these six youths need to be heard in a court of law and punished if found guilty. In the mean time the black community needs to focus on unscrewing our urban neighborhoods and public schools and get the crime under control–PERIOD.

    Please pass this on the widest audience possible.

    Thanks,

  7. Cari Ramos

    I cant believe this is happening still today in the world! My prayers are going out to the families of the Jenna 6. Please stay strong and i will do my part as a caring parent to get the word out, but please everyone who reads this make sure you do the same! Do not let your voice be unheard!!!! God Bless

  8. joe

    “until December 4th when he charged a half-dozen African-American students dubbed the Jena 6 with attempted murder after they allegedly got the better of some whites in a fight in the school cafeteria.”
    A lie. Six black students attacked one white student in a blatant racist hate crime, which you obviously approve of.

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