Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Join the Rally on Jena

Dear Edward,

It's an American outrage that demonstrates the continuing shame of racism in our country.

Six black teenagers in a small Louisiana town are facing some of the most overly aggressive prosecution we've seen - all over a schoolyard fight with white students. The group has come to be known in the media as the Jena 6, in reference to the small town where a series of racial incidents escalated after three nooses were hung from a tree at a local high school.

Click here to add your name to the Justice for Jena petition now!

The events led to the arrest of the young men - all being charged with serious criminal offenses that could lead to decades in jail. But, the white students involved were not initially prosecuted; they received a three-day in school suspension for hanging the nooses.

In a trial that lasted only two days, an all-white jury convicted Mychal Bell, the first of the group to be tried. The public defender presented no rebuttal or witnesses, and the jury deliberated for less than two hours.

On Friday, the Louisiana Court of Appeals took an important step towards justice for the Jena 6. They tossed out Bell's conviction for aggravated battery, stating that he should not have been tried and convicted as an adult. But, Mychal Bell remains in jail awaiting a new trial. The legal fight is far from over for him and his co-defendants.

Donate to the NAACP Justice for Jena Fund.

How the NAACP is Advocating For Justice

The NAACP is mobilized to secure justice and equity for these young men.

  • The NAACP, in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Southern University Law Center, has provided some additional legal support and resources to the defendants' attorneys and remains committed to the defense of the remaining young men.
  • We presented a petition of over 62,000 signatures (gathered on the NAACP website; signatures now exceed 92,000) to the Governor of Louisiana on Sept. 17 as a symbol of the thousands of citizens concerned with the unequal treatment of the defendants and the pubic acknowledgement that the hanging of the three nooses is a serious hate crime offense.
  • We have demanded that the Attorney General's office investigate the prosecution and monitor the trials.
  • We organized activities, including a rally and town hall, in Jena on Sept. 20 in the spirit of justice and equality. The town hall will focus on racial disparities in the education and criminal justice systems.
  • We are actively monitoring the situation and remain committed to the defense of the six young men to ensure proper treatment by the court system and protection of their rights under the law.

If you can't come to Jena, you can participate in our efforts via the NAACP website by signing the Justice for Jena petition, donating to the cause, or by viewing our live webcast of the rally and town hall meeting on Sept. 20.
Forward this email to your family and friends and ask them to sign the petition.

We cannot afford to be silent when so much is at stake.


Dennis Courtland Hayes

Interim President & CEO NAACP


Kanani said...

Here's what I know.

A black kid sat under a tree where usually white kids squat.

So white kids hung 3 nooses from a tree.

In retaliation, a white student who was beaten unconscious by the black youths.

As a parent, I'd expect the kids who hung the nooses to be handled immediately. Permanent expulsion from school, and also a ruling that the kids who did this could never attend another school together. I'd also expect them to do community service where they also had to learn the virtues of acceptance.

I'd also expect the kids who beat someone into a state of unconsciousness to face charges. You cannot do something like that and expect that there will be no consequences. I would expect those kids to face charges whether or not the victim were black or white.

Now, the issue of whether or not they received a fair trail demands to be looked at. Why, I wonder... and all-white jury. Especially in this time of consciousness about such things. 1.5 out of 10 residents in the town are black. Seems to me they could have found someone willing to serve.

Nubia said...

Another tidbit I've heard is that the young white student who was beaten was not beaten unconscious. He was treated at the local hospital, released and attended a party the same night.

Kanani said...

All I'm going by is what was printed in the newspapers. I hope that they have done their research, I hope that they sat through every minute of the trial.

If evidence from a hospital was entered into a court of law that the person was beaten to a state of unconsciousness, then that's the proof of malfeasance.

Nubia said...

The media is ALL we have to go by. It's just a matter of who reports what and what source we choose to trust.

Chances are, we'll never get the full story. Not being an eye witness, we're forced to take in media tidbits.

As for myself, this is not a black/white issue. It's an equality issue. We'll be kicking each others' asses until the cows come home, and if punishment is a consequence, then I feel that it should be equal and JUST!