Jena 6 Marchers Take on Courts
Today thousands of people will be marching on Jena, LA.Â The papers and TV news are talking about a second civil rights movementÂ and conjuring images of the 1960′s civil rights marches.Â This time, there is something more impenetrable that people are marching against though, the legal system.Â
In December 2006, six black high school students were arrested after fighting with a white student and charged with attempted murder.Â The charges where vacated and reduced to battery and conspiracy.Â The inciting incident happened in September when a black student asked to sit under a tree where white students usually sat.Â When students returned the next day three nooses hung from that very tree.Â The students who hung the nooses where suspended from school but tensions where at a high around school, sparking the December fight.Â Mychal BellÂ was the first of the Jena 6 to be brought to trial in July and he was convicted of all charges.Â Today, a year after the first incident and 9 months after the first arrest, people are marching on Jena.
There are more than 43,000 members of the group Free Jena 6 on FacebookÂ and thousands of groups are traveling to the town to march, while thousands more are marching in their hometowns.Â The DA for the case told the AP that the media has it all wrong, it isn’t about race, which is appalling and turning a blind eye to say the least.Â High school students fight all of the time, teachers are trained to handle fights,Â but how many times have these teens been arrested for attempted murder?Â It is understandable for the school to impose harsh penalties on their students in an effort to quell an epidemic of fighting, but this is the court system imposing these charges, not the administration.Â And beside that point the school did not have an epidemicÂ problem with violence nor was there a precedent set before the Jena 6 where students where presented with the same charges for the same actions.Â The incident started withÂ a blatantly racist statement being made by other students.Â It all comes down to race, bottom line.Â The Jena 6 received unduly harsh punishment and missed prom while they awaited trial in prison.Â That can’t be changed but a message needs to be sent that this is unacceptable, precisely what these marches will hopefully do.
I would like to hear your thoughts about the punishment and the marches!Â And just in case you ever doubted the awesomeness that is David Bowie,Â todayÂ he donated thousands to the Jena 6 fund.Â This isn’t small time anymore.Â This is something that will impact us for a long time to come.