Sep 4, 2007

When racism rears its ugly head...

Main Entry: rac·ism
Pronunciation: 'rA-"si-z&m also -"shi-
Function: noun
1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2 : racial prejudice or discrimination

People need to stand up and speak out. If your not familiar with the Jena on. If you are familiar with them, you need to blog about it. Decent, good people do not sit by and allow racism to exist and flourish in do so makes us all complicit.

Jena, Louisiana, where a young black teenager was convicted of aggravated assault for a schoolyard fight. The fight was initiated by white students, who hung three nooses in a tree at the high school courtyard, to warn black students not to sit there. After this hate crime was dismissed as a harmless prank by the school administration, black students protested under the tree. The local District Attorney was called in to warn the black students that he could take their life away with the stroke of a pen. After authority figures refused to take a stand against racism, the noose incident led to a series of fights between white and black students. After these fights, only the black students were charged–with attempted murder. The prosecutor and the town have refused to back down in prosecuting these young men, or to admit that hanging nooses is a hate crime. You can read the full report of Friends of Justice here: Jena 6 summary

CommonDreams has a good writeup here as well.

I must admit I had no idea about this situation in Louisiana. I am sickened by it. Thanks to AngryBlackBitch, I am no longer ignorant about the racism that is still accepted and in the case of the Jena Six..its supported by school administrators and the District Attorney in Jena LA.

Below is a 'take action' item from Friends of Justice. If you can't be there, as I can't..please blog about this..we can not let this happen without screaming our outrage loud and clear for all to hear.

On September 20th, 2007, the world is coming to Jena, Louisiana. While themainstream media waits for the next "news hook", the plight of the Jena 6 has caught the attention of nationally syndicated radio talk show hosts.

Everyone has the same message: "Get on the bus!"

A rally is planned for the LaSalle Parish courthouse in Jena, beginning at 8:00 in the morning. If you want to be there, you better move fast–especially if you need overnight accommodations. I suggest you book a room in nearby Alexandria–Jena has only one motel, and the rooms probably disappeared a long time ago.

How many people are coming to Jena? A crowd of 1,000 appears to be a very conservative estimate. Most people who say they want to come will end up abandoning the idea for practical reasons. But the groundswell of enthusiasm has been so unprecedented that a crowd in excess of 5,000 is possible. Can tiny little Jena (population 3,000) handle that many people? It doesn't appear that they have much choice in the matter.

Friends of Justice is trying to make sure that all the primary organizers in various cities are on the same page. So, if you are organizing a bus to Jena for the rally on the 20th please contact Friends of Justice and we'll post your information. If you've got bus seats that need to be filled, let us know. We are currently being swamped with calls from across the nation asking, "Is there a bus going to Jena from my city?"

When I first visited the LaSalle Parish courthouse in early January, Friends of Justice was the only organization working with the Jena 6 and their families. Court appointed attorneys weren't returning our calls. Motivated lawyers had been dismissed from the case and suitable replacements weren't on the horizon. But as we listened to the families tell their stories I knew this legal outrage would not stand. I was determined that it would not stand, and I could already see a vast throng of concerned citizens gathered in front of the courthouse, standing in solidarity with the Jena Six.

So get on the bus and come on down to Jena, Louisiana. Come in peace and a spirit of non-violence. Come with an open mind. Come for the Jena Six and their families. Come for America.
Alan Bean
Friends of Justice

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