Wednesday, July 18, 2007

While I Was Sleeping

I've been going through a little bit of the blogger burnout thing for the past few weeks; posting very irregularly. In the meantime, so much has been going on that I feel I should have been posting about.

Like the Jena Six.

If there was such a thing as an outrage meter, mine would be in the red zone right about now. I know I'm late to this discussion, but what's occurring right now in Jena, LA is a travesty and a crime. It's been covered far better than I can do by many others in the
Afrosphere and beyond, but in a nutshell (and lifted in it's entirety from, the issues in Jena are:

In September 2006, a group of African American high school students in Jena, Louisiana, asked the school for permission to sit beneath a "whites only" shade tree. There was an unwritten rule that blacks couldn't sit beneath the tree. The school said they didn't care where students sat. The next day, students arrived at school to see three nooses (in school colors) hanging from the tree.

The boys who hung the nooses were suspended from school for a few days. The school administration chalked it up as a harmless prank, but Jena's black population didn't take it so lightly. Fights and unrest started breaking out at school. The District Attorney, Reed Walters, was called in to directly address black students at the school and told them all he could "end their life with a stroke of the pen."

Black students were assaulted at white parties. A white man drew a loaded rifle on three black teens at a local convenience store. (They wrestled it from him and ran away.) Someone tried to burn down the school, and on December 4th, a fight broke out that led to six black students being charged with attempted murder. To his word, the D.A. pushed for maximum charges, which carry sentences of eighty years. Four of the six are being tried as adults (ages 17 & 18) and two are juveniles.

Mychal Bell, the first of the Jena Six to face trial, was found guilty of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit the same on June 28th.

Like they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. You can find more information and action plans here, and definitely sign the petition.

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