Thursday, August 30, 2007

The time should fit the crime....right?

"An injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere!" -MLK

I received this from a friend (thanks Q.) and I ask all of you to help:

"Last fall in Jena, the day after two Black high school
students sat beneath the "white tree" on their campus, nooses were
hung from the tree. When the superintendent dismissed the nooses as
a "prank," more Black students sat under the tree in protest. The
District Attorney then came to the school accompanied by the town's
police and demanded that the students end their protest, telling them, "I
can be your best friend or your worst enemy... I can take away your
lives with a stroke of my pen."

A series of white-on-black incidents of violence
followed, and the DA did nothing. But when a white student was beaten up in
a schoolyard fight, the DA responded by charging six black students
with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

It's a story that reads like one from the Jim Crow
era, when judges, lawyers and all-white juries used the justice system
to keep blacks in "their place." But it's happening today. The families
of these young men are fighting back, but the story has gotten
minimal press. Together, we can make sure their story is told and
that the Governor of Louisiana intervenes and provides justice for the
Jena 6. It starts now. Please join me:

Color of Change

The noose-hanging incident and the DA's visit to the
school set the stage for everything that followed. Racial tension
escalated over the next couple of months, and on November 30, the main
academic building of Jena High School was burned down in an unsolved fire.
Later the same weekend, a black student was beaten up by white
students at a party. The next day, black students at a convenience store
were threatened by a young white man with a shotgun. They wrestled the gun
from him and ran away. While no charges were filed against the white
man, the students were later arrested for the theft of the gun.

That Monday at school, a white student, who had been a
vocal supporter of the students who hung the nooses, taunted the black
student who was beaten up at the off-campus party and allegedly called
several black students "nigger." After lunch, he was knocked down,
punched and kicked by black students. He was taken to the
hospital, but was released and was well enough to go to a social event
that evening.

Six Black Jena High students, Robert Bailey (17), Theo
Shaw (17), Carwin Jones (18), Bryant Purvis (17), Mychal Bell
(16) and an unidentified minor, were expelled from school,
arrested and charged with second-degree attempted murder. The first trial
ended last month, and Mychal Bell, who has been in prison since
December, was convicted of aggravated battery and conspiracy to
commit aggravated battery (both felonies) by an all-white jury in a
trial where his public defender called no witnesses. During his trial,
Mychal's parents were ordered not to speak to the media and the
court prohibited protests from taking place near the
courtroom or where the judge could see them.

Mychal is scheduled to be sentenced on July 31st, and
could go to jail for 22 years. Theo Shaw's trial is next. He will
finally make bail this week.

The Jena Six are lucky to have parents and loved ones
who are fighting tooth and nail to free them. They have been threatened
but they are standing strong. We know that if the families have to
go it alone, their sons will be a long time coming home. But if we
act now, we can make a difference."

Gil Scott Heron - We Almost Lost Detroit


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