Jena Thursday

Though I’m not leaving the house today, I’m wearing black in support of the marches on Jena, LA.

black shirt

I waited to write this post so that I could point to news coverage of the protest. I’m happy to say that it’s been mentioned on All Things Considered (twice) and Morning Edition today. A GoogleNews search threw up a ton of results.

As a black person, I often feel sad that the black community doesn’t (in my opinion) come together enough for social justice issues like this. I was starting to feel we’ve become complacent in the post-post-Civil Rights era. But this protest proves me wrong. Because it’s not just Al Sharptona nd Jesse Jackson “rabblerousing”. It’s a whole bunch of people insisting that attention must be paid. I hope we’ll continue to do so.

Another thing I keep hearing on NPR is that the mainstream media didn’t cover this story very well, but black bloggers kept at it. Now tell me blogging isn’t “doing” something.

Protest in Jena
Click to see more pictures [ABC news]

To everyone who was able to go down to Jena today or took part in local protests: You Go.

ETA: the Thin Black Dude’s post on some Jena reactions is very enlightening.

16 Responses

  1. {note from ABW – follow the link above to a fabulous collection of links associated with this text}

    Have you talked to your child about why they/you are wearing black?
    Have you told your child why s/he is worth it?
    Have you figured out how you can be involved?
    Have you wondered what the Jena Six have to do with Latin@ Immigrants?
    Have you been wondering what a bitch has to say about the Jena Six?
    Have you wondered how things have changed since 1971?
    Have you wondered what you can do with your digital camera?
    Have you been looking for pictures of the march?
    Have you been thinking, “This is a black issue”?
    Have you tried to talk yourself out of posting something?

    Follow the women.
    They know the way.

  2. I didn’t go anywhere, but I did contribute a small amount. This is serious stuff.

  3. I didn’t go out either. I was glued to the news. I could have never imagined this would happen either. Bloggers rock! Anyone like Jared Leto who says blogging is a stupid fad is absolutely out to lunch! The revolution will be blogged and Youtubed!

  4. CBS afternoon drive-time radio sucked: NO mention of the nooses, but they went out of their way to describe the white kid’s injuries.

  5. Let’s see what transpires in the United States’ little “Tiananmen Square”.

  6. I apologize as I know I am coming into this discussion a bit late. I moved out of the states a few weeks ago and have been crazed, so now I am taking a moment and really digging into all this with both hands.

    I wanted to share an email I sent to my father after he sent me to a news article about Jena 6.

    I adore this blog and I’d love to get any feedback.

    I’ve been reading about this for days on the blogosphere but all the accounts have been pretty convoluted. I just found this website which explained the situation most simply: http://www.colorofchange.org/jena/message.html

    For some reason, I have no liberal knee-jerk reaction to all of this like most everyone else. This seems like standard southern justice, and the protest seems like a total 60’s throwback. Why are they jumping on this case now instead of the hundreds of others that surely happen every year? Why are they responding with the same old tactics and arguments? Yelling “black power” in the 21st century? Do you know if anyone is pushing for the white students to be (at the same time) brought to justice for their acts of violence (the above website mentioned some acts of violence)?

    I definitely think the Jena 6 should be set free but I think EVERYONE in prison in America should be set free, so I’m easy. However I think my view is clouded by my disappointment with a lot of the mainstream response to this. I’d love to hear Sharpton and Jackson talk about how they did this exact same thing some 40 years ago to little avail. I’d like to hear them acknowledge their mistakes…alas, I doubt they will because though no one wants to say it, these career activists have a vested interest in maintaining racism in America and keeping race relations as they are, it is their livelihood and has brought them fame. They wouldn’t really like to live in a world of equality, they’d be nobodies.

    The best thing that can come from this is a new and younger generation of activists emerging, and I think that is happening on the blogosphere. Because of the many fantastic black (and some others) bloggers, this story rose from the underground to the forefront.

    Anyway, that’s my rant.

  7. I find this so interesting and FYI I am white (technically I am more than enough to qualify as Native American but just haven’t bothered with the paperwork). Also, I will use Black and not Africa-American mostly to conserve space and because I don’t know the family backgrounds to know they aren’t from somewhere else (I say this because I have a friend who is Jamaican-American and found myself being told to correct it immediately).

    The issue at heart first and foremost has to be, did they commit the crime? If so then why is the slogan “Free the Jena 6″ instead of “Try the others for their crimes”. The final outcome should not be to free anyone in the wrong, but to ensure the application of justice is fair and equal. If you free someone solely based on race it is more wrong, as it sends a completely inaccurate message (remember 2 wrongs don’t make a right). How can we teach our children right from wrong by sending the wrong message?

    The only thing so far said was that there was no grounds for charging as an adult, nothing was every said about changing the bond or freeing the one in jail (bond is based on risk and he has been noted as having committed the crime of battery before).

    Also, why is it that no governmental body has stepped in if this case is so blatantly based on Racism? Neither, Democrat or Republican, who has power to set the course, has said anything.

    The noose incident is regretful and I do feel more a show of racism in this case than anything else. However the school didn’t try to prevent the black kids from sitting under the “white tree” and when the incident was brought to their attention the Principal did act accordingly with recommending expulsion. He was overturned so you really can’t fault the school in this case. And as for the group that changed to a 3 day suspension I question their logic but they can justify thru intent and the fact teenagers are a*holes to each other all the time. But there was an outrage here in Charlotte a few years ago over a black student who only received suspension for have a gun at school. And there are other cases all the time on all sides where outside consideration is given to lessen the amount time a person is given.

    Anyway there are other things about the whole ordeal troubling me but I think the approach is wrong and needs to be checked. If they committed a crime they need to serve their time, but someone needs to check into why the other incidents did not warrant charges. The unfortunate truth could simply be Body of Evidence and there was no way anyone could get a conviction if they tried. Could be the DA is the issue here and needs to b disbarred, as well as, jailed for misconduct and other rules of the system. Could be severity of the circumstances, if I hit someone up who attacks or threatens me that may be justifiable, but if I kill someone who attacks or threatens me (especially after they are disarmed) then I stand the grounds of assault myself. What they may have done (which I cannot find enough on each incident to tell for sure) may have been to simply cross the threshold of justifiable versus crime.

    I really would love to have more detail of all issues pertaining to this. The big problem with internet information has been the lack to detail. Because half the truth is still a lie and causes many to jump to conclusions.

  8. Talk about karma, thanks Camille for you link. This was better for me than anything I have found so far.

  9. @what if?: I found this link from a previous post by ABW , so you can thank her!

  10. Camille and What if?

    I’m going to assume you’re asking these questions out of a sincere desire to dialogue, and not just being ignorant. Please don’t disappoint me.

    The reason people are chanting “Free the Jena 6!” and not “apply justice equally to the white kids and the black kids and since the white kids got off scott-free for beating up a black kid and hanging a noose to intimidate the black kids at their school (a hate crime, BTW), and since a white guy pulled a gun on them and *they* got charged but *he* didn’t, then the black kids should get off scott-free too!!” …is because the latter makes for a really stupid-sounding protest chant.

    But trust me, “Free the Jena 6″ points directly to the issue of fairness. The white kids and gun-wielding guy went free. It’s probably too late to charge them at this point, thanks to the difficulty of getting untainted evidence, the fact that no witnesses in this town are neutral anymore, etc. So since it’s not likely that the white people will receive fair punishment at this point, set the black kids free too. They did the same thing (far less, actually). So they should get the same “sentence”.

    As for why the same tactics are being used to protest this incident — hello? Remember the Civil Rights movement, and a few laws that changed as a result? The tactics WORK. But as you yourself have pointed out, new tactics have been added — blogging, organizing the protest via social networking, online fundraising. All this is necessary because racism has taken on some new tactics too, like media focus — I’ve heard more about OJ’s crazy ass in the last few days than I have about anything else, including Iraq. I know full well that white people all over this country are salivating for the chance to see OJ swing, The One That Got Away, but is this really the most important thing we should be fixated on as a nation?

    As for why Jackson and Sharpton haven’t used this incident to totally detract attention from the incident itself, and derail conversation about how racism has *not* gone away or even changed much in 40 years, in order to disparage themselves and do an autobiographical retrospective on their decades-long careers… oh, wait.

    As for why politicians haven’t stepped in, and why people don’t trust the justice system to come through for these kids… dear God, have you been paying attention to what the justice system has *done* in this case? You think this is all about the white kids who hung the noose? You think *that’s* the most dangerous kind of racism?

    And as for why people are paying so much attention to this incident and not others that occur — Actually, they do pay attention to all those incidents. You’ve clearly just been reading the wrong blogs and listening to the wrong news. Stick around here awhile. I think it’ll be educational for you.

  11. […] how things have changed since 1971? Have you wondered what you can do with your digital camera? Have you been looking for pictures of the march? Have you been thinking, “This is a black issue”? Have you tried to talk yourself out of posting […]

  12. I have seen a number of causes and events on Facebook about the Jena 6. Much like the effect of blogs refusing to ignore this travesty, having a prominent place on such a popular site as Facebook can only help in alerting more and more people to this miscarriage of justice.

    I thank you and the many other bloggers for your work.

  13. Yes thank you.

    There are “Jena 6″ situations all across this country, north, south, east and west. Shining the national spotlight on one of them will hopefully do like for the others.

    Those of us who couldn’t be there have had many discusions about what’s going on there and here. And how to bring some of that energy to address the injustices that exist in the criminal justice system by race and class nationwide.

    There was a guy speaking in my city who’s been walking across the state to alert people on the issue of legally sanctioned executions and the death penalty. He was on death row for 25 years before being released, due to a lawyer on another case finding information on his case while trying to help on the appeal process for the other case. The two defendants were convicted by the testimony of the same police informant. After hearing all the people who were convicted based on testimony by this discredited informant, it reminded me a bit of Tulia, Texas and what happened there. It’s going on everywhere.

    He lived and was released, albeit after nearly a quarter of a century. The other man was executed and probably not guilty of the crime he was convicted of committing.

  14. I don’t get White Americans. They will draw guns on a girl who has a fake bomb strapped to her chest in an airport but refers to a noose as a prank. That girl will probably be charged with a terroristic threat, which is the same thing a person who hangs a noose should be charged with.

    But white people don’t view a noose as a threat to them. And when they think about a possible Arab terrorist attacking America, they think of only the possible white lives lost, not the black and brown.

    That is why blacks have a unique view on 9/11. Granted, it was a day that affected us all but blacks deal with terrorism or an environement of fear everyday: the KKK, skinheads, racist cops;being denied that apartment, that loan, that job; being the victim of a crime but not getting equal interest or investigation into it.

    Blacks live with terrorism everyday but ours don’t warrant its own homeland security office in this country.

  15. There is another case of injustice affecting seven black lesbian women from New Jersey, but it hasn’t garnered any media attention likely because they are an even more marginalized group than the black men from Jena.

    Please ABW, I would appreciate it if people spread the word by putting up Jersey 7 blog banners to raise as much awareness as the Jena 6:

    http://womensspace.wordpress.com/2007/09/26/justice-for-the-new-jersey-7-blog-banners-avatar/

  16. K.A. thanks for bringing this to my attention. I will definitely read up!

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