Monday, September 24, 2007

Jena 6

Let me first say, I know that this is a long post. I just hope that some will read it entirely.

America is working to build a wall at the border of Mexico, to keep illegal immigrants out. My question to the wall being built is this. Just who will build the wall?

We hire Mexicans to build our homes, upkeep our lawns, work in our Agriculture fields, clean our homes and even baby sit our children.

Maybe with the health care proposal Hillary Clinton has on the table, if she is elected President. Maybe some want mind so much about Mexicans being in America.

Thanks to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, California and Texas that once belong to Mexico, was signed over to America, including New Mexico.

I said this to point out how America is supposed to be a country of immigrants. My Great Grandmother was a Creek Indian. I am not going to lecture the fact that America belongs to the Indians and the fact that they are not complaining about Mexicans or anyone else being in this country.

How is it that our ancestors came here from all parts of the world, yet some Americans feel that any other race that is here, are here to serve them and is less of a person because of their skin color?

Which brings me to Jena 6. I know most, if not all America has heard about the problems in that small community. If not, the below video will inform the reader about what happen in Jena, Louisiana.

The trouble started under “the white tree” in front of Jena High School. The “white tree” is where the white students, 80 percent of the student body, would always sit during school breaks.

In September 2006, a Black student at Jena High School asked permission from school administrators to sit under the “white tree.” School officials advised them to sit wherever they wanted. They did.

The next day, three nooses, in the school colors, were hanging from the “white tree.” The message was clear. “Those nooses meant the KKK, they meant ‘ … we’re going to kill you, we’re going to hang you till you die,’” Casteptla Bailey, mom of one of the students, told the London Observer.

The Jena High School principal found that three white students were responsible and recommended expulsion. The white superintendent of schools overruled the principal and gave the students a three day suspension saying that the nooses were just a youthful stunt. “Adolescents play pranks,” the superintendent told the Chicago Tribune. “I don’t think it was a threat against anybody.”

Black students decided to resist and organized a sit-in under the “white tree” at the school to protest the light suspensions given to the noose-hanging white students.

The white district attorney then came to Jena High with law enforcement officers to address a school assembly. According to testimony in a later motion in court, the DA reportedly threatened the Black protesting students saying that if they didn’t stop making a fuss about this “innocent prank… I can be your best friend or your worst enemy. I can take away your lives with a stroke of my pen.” The school was put on lockdown for the rest of the week.

On the night of Thursday, Nov. 30, 2006, a still unsolved fire burned down the main academic building of Jena High School.

On Friday night, Dec. 1, a Black student who showed up at a white party was beaten by whites. On Saturday, Dec. 2, a young white man pulled out a shotgun in a confrontation with young Black men at the Gotta Go convenience store outside Jena before the men wrestled it away from him. The Black men who took the shotgun away were later arrested. No charges were filed against the white man.

On Monday, Dec. 4, at Jena High, a white student — who allegedly had been making racial taunts, including calling African American students “n———” while supporting the students who hung the nooses and who beat up the Black student at the off-campus party — was knocked down, punched and kicked by Black students. The white victim was taken to the hospital treated and released. He attended a social function that evening.

Six Black Jena students were arrested and charged with attempted second degree murder. All six were expelled from school.

The six charged were: 17-year-old Robert Bailey Jr., whose bail was set at $138,000; 17-year-old Theo Shaw — bail $130,000; 18-year-old Carwin Jones — bail $100,000; 17-year-old Bryant Purvis — bail $70,000; Mychal Bell, a sophomore in high school who was charged as an adult and for whom bail was set at $90,000; and a still unidentified minor.

Many of the young men, who came to be known as the Jena 6, stayed in jail for months. Few families could afford bond or private attorneys.

Mychal Bell remained in jail from December 2006 until his trial because his family was unable to post the $90,000 bond. Theo Shaw has also remained in jail. Several of the other defendants remained in jail for months until their families could raise sufficient money to put up bonds.

On the morning of the trial, the DA reduced the charges from attempted second-degree murder to second-degree aggravated battery and conspiracy. Aggravated battery in Louisiana law demands the attack be with a dangerous weapon. The dangerous weapon? The prosecutor was allowed to argue to the jury that the tennis shoes worn by Bell could be considered a dangerous weapon used by “the gang of Black boys” who beat the white victim.

Most shocking of all, when the pool of potential jurors was summoned, 50 people appeared — every single one of them white.

The LaSalle Parish clerk defended the all-white group to the Alexandria Louisiana Town Talk newspaper, saying that the jury pool was selected by computer. “The venire [panel of prospective jurors] is color blind. The idea is for the list to truly reflect the racial makeup of the community, but the system does not take race into factor.” Officials said they had summoned 150 people, but these were the only people who showed up.

The all-white jury which was finally chosen included two people friendly with the district attorney, a relative of one of the witnesses and several others who were friends of prosecution witnesses.

The jury deliberated for less than three hours and found Mychal Bell guilty on the maximum possible charges of aggravated second- degree battery and conspiracy. He faces up to a maximum of 22 years in prison.

What happened to the white guys? The white victim of the beating was later arrested for bringing a hunting rifle loaded with 13 bullets onto the high school campus and released on $5,000 bond. The white man who beat up the Black youth at the off-campus party was arrested and charged with simple battery. The white students who hung up the nooses in the “white tree” were never charged.

This all brought a march in Jena, Louisiana last week with patisipants from all around the country. The video below details what happen after the march.

A teenager was arrested Thursday when police allegedly found hangman's nooses dangling from the rear of his pickup truck after he drove past a crowd of people who had attended a civil rights march earlier in the day.

The incident in Alexandria, La., took place only hours after tens of thousands of civil rights marchers demonstrated in nearby Jena on behalf of six teens charged with beating a white schoolmate at Jena High School.

Jeremiah Munsen, 18, of Colfax, La., and a 16-year-old passenger in his truck were arrested Thursday night near a bus station where a group of people who had marched in Jena were waiting for buses to take them home.

One of the Grant Parish teenagers arrested Thursday night in connection with a red pickup truck driving through downtown Alexandria with nooses tied to it was released on bond from the Rapides Parish jail Friday morning.

Jeremiah Munsen, 18 of Colfax, had his bond set at $1,670 after being charged with driving while intoxicated, inciting to riot and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, according to an Alexandria Police Department report.

The 16-year-old, who was being held in a juvenile detention facility Friday, told police he had a "KKK" tattoo on his chest and said some of his relatives were involved in the Ku Klux Klan, according to a police report.

Officers found an unloaded .22-caliber rifle and a set of brass knuckles in Munsen's truck, police said.

Nooses figured into the controversy that drew tens of thousands of people to Jena, a small town about 40 miles northeast of Alexandria.

On Friday a request that Mychal Bell the black teenager arrested in the beating of a white youth be released from jail was denied.

The only one of the six yet to stand trial. Mr. Bell was convicted of aggravated second-degree battery this summer, but the conviction was thrown out last week by a Louisiana appeals court, which ruled that he had been mistakenly tried as an adult.

America cannot continue to allow such behavior by its Justice System, to deny equal justice and protection for all its people. It cannot continue to allow racism, as shown in Jena, to occur over and over, then claim this is just one instance. It's one instance too many and it must stop.

We cant continue to call America, the Land of the free, when we want walls built to keep out the people that produce the very food we eat. We cannot continue to call America, the Land of the free, when we attack and abuse a race of people with racism, simply because of their skin color. Right is right and wrong is wrong and America has been wrong for a long time now.

Another great site with information on Jena 6 is I Wish I Was In Paris.

This next video is a summary of Jena 6, from Mary Ellen, The Devine Democrat.

What say you?


Mary Ellen said...

I did a post about The White Tree back in the beginning of August. I was shocked to see a guy that used to come on my blog that is a lawyer who couldn't see the blatant racism in this case...he never responded to my question about how an all white jury and all the other information didn't ring an alarm bell.

I just don't understand can anyone think having a tree that has been dubbed "The White Tree", not think there was racism at this school or in this community.

LET'S TALK said...

Mary Ellen that was a great video. I would like to reference it on this post if that's ok with you. Please let me know.

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Candace said...

That's a wonderful post - I'm bookmarking it because it gives all the details in one place. Nice job!

Do you ever get over to 1138's blog?

He has an amazing video there that was produced in 1947 by the U.S. Department of War. It shows the dangers of racism and the mentality behind putting up walls. If someone in the U.S. government tried to put out a video like that now, it would never see the light of day - it would be considered subversive.

Click on the "Don't Be a Sucker" link under the video bar to see it.

Candace said...

Hi, Mary Ellen :)

One thing that struck me about the (white) people in Jena on the day of the march was the repeated phrase, "this has been blown out of proportion." Riiiiight....

Remember the phrase "outside agitators" back in the 60s? Man, it's hard to believe this is still happening. And no, it isn't news to me that it is - I don't think I've been that far out of touch - but I'm just sayin. It ain't right.

Mary Ellen said...

let's talk, by all means use the video. I originally got it from windspike. Equal opportunity sharing, that's what blogging is all about!

Mary Ellen said...

I knew that there was still racism in the south, but I had no idea that it was this prevalent. I was sickened to hear that they wouldn't change venues with the judge and that the poor boy would be stuck with the same one. There will be no justice here. My heart aches for their families. These are just kids.

LET'S TALK said...

Thanks for the visit and the comment celia.

Thanks candace, and yes I frequent 1138's blog. I'm the one that nominated him for an award and I've tried the video but couldn't get it to work.

I love it when he really get into a post, he has a lot of wisdom and very good writeing skills.

Thank you Mary Ellen I will make it part of the post.

In reference to your comment, yes these are kids and nothing more than in school suspension could have sufficed for this.

ParisL0ve2 said...

I blogged about this story the other day. This morning, I got a jackass commenting about how I was being unfair and unjust to demand that the KKK and neo-nazi's be locked up for threatening to lynch these teenagers. Clearly a sheet-wearing jackass!!

I can't say that it's surprising to see racism so rampant in this country. It happens every single day around the country. The problem is, we don't hear about every "Jena" and we should.

I see it every single day in the city I live in, and it disgusts me. I even quit my job over a racist incident at work almost a year ago.

Thanks for blogging about this!!

Anonymous said...

As the deplorable situation in Jena clearly shows, we're not as far along in dealing with racism as we'd like to pretend.

Can in really be that in 40 to 50 years, things have changed so little? I was born in Oxford, Mississippi, and I remember the stories my parents told about racism against blacks and hatred for 'white niggers'.

LET'S TALK said...

ParisL0ve2, I've got to visit your site and read the post. I stopped commenting because there was never a response to comments at your site. I wondered if you read them, you know that some bloggers don't.

LET'S TALK said...

Kvatch, there's a lot of hatred in this country to go around and it's seen almost daily here in the South.

ParisL0ve2 said...

I do read comments on my blog Let's Talk. Usually the comments are so good that I just let them speak for themselves!! They don't warrant a comment from me because they have such a WOW factor all on their own.

equestrian1 said...

First of all, if we got rid of NAFTA, which has totally screwed many, many average people in Mexico, we would see a very dramatic decrease in immigration. I am sure you can figure out why we don't do that.

Secondly, I feel we will see more situations like the one in Jena unless and until we in the South REFUSE to tolerate the racist crap that meets and greets us every day. I have to admit that I am guilty of running away every time I hear some jerk (and this includes whites and blacks) say something stupid. Nevertheless, how can we expect change when so many people are allowed to feel that such idiocy is acceptable?

equestrian1 said...

One more thing:

Lesser, were you aware of the David Barbee/Augusta story? I have been busy and can't really follow it for now but you might find it insteresting:

fairlane said...

Great post Let's.

Racism does not only exist in the "South."

The "North" is every bit as racist, and I see a problem with many "Liberals" who pretend we live in a colorblind world and only the "Redneck Southerners" are "racist."

Saying "I don't see color, and people are just people" is racist. Of course the world is "colorblind" to a white person. Our race has little to no role in our daily lives.

Ask a black person in the North if America is "colorblind." And then ask them what the "Liberals" have done to help them. Most will say, "Not much. If anything at all."

Racism is not going to end by simply blaming it on the "Crackers" in the South.

ThanKwee-Anajo said...

Very good post Let's Talk. You have a good heart. It's sad that there's so much racism in this country.

Seeing those nooses hanging from that red pickup truck made me want to throw up.

That town in Louisiana certainly has a lot of racial tensions.

Very very sad.

And it seems that the blacks are more severly punished than the whites.


Mary Ellen said...

Speaking of racism, did you hear the comments made by that pinhead, Bill O'Reilly, about how the restaurant he went to in a black neighborhood was "just like any other restaurant in NY city" etc...

I'm sure you saw the tape, but it just proves that racism is still prevalent in the US. I think it's often hidden because it's not politically correct, but there are a lot people who still think that blacks are a lower class. It's so sad this is still happening.

Tom Harper said...

Has it really been 50 years since the first sit-ins and demonstrations in the South? Every time I read something about this story, I feel like I've walked into a time warp and it's the 1950s again.

Robert Rouse said...

I think it's great how the media is catching on to the Jena 6, however, with the same breath, I know the war in Iraq is a much larger issue. Yet last Saturday there was little to ZERO coverage of our march against the war in Washington, yet the press was all over the march for the Jena 6. Priorities.

Parson said...

It's sad ol' Jim Crow is still alive and well.

LET'S TALK said...

ParisL0ve2, I will start back to leaving my comments for your site which is a wonderful site by the way. I've also posted your site as a reference on this post.

Hi equestrian1, no I am not familiar with the David Barbee/Augusta story. I will take a look at the site later and thanks for the reference.

equestrian1, America still has to be on a better playing field , when it comes to their neighbors.

Change for America must and shall come if we are to be a Nation of one, with liberty and justice for all.

As soon as some realize that it's all who share in war, in 9/11 and anything else that deals with this country. So all should be as one. Not less than or 1/4 of, but the same, as one.

fairlane, I agree racism, will not go away by blaming it on the North, South or a certain people. It will only go away when all who feel that it is wrong start to show those who practice it, that it will not be tolerated in this country and act on that. Act on it by identifying those who would try to oppress a people and prosecute those that act on such blindness.

ThanKwee-Anajo, thanks for your comment and let me say that yes, it is sad and wrong. We can all change that sadness by not tolerating such behavior.

Mary Ellen I think that Bill is just Bill and he probably didn't see anything wrong with what he said.

LET'S TALK said...

Tom Harper, I feel that this want be as it was in the 60's and America might be wise to stop this type of justice before things get out of hand. Have you seen any of the blogs that spew hate and treating these six young men family?

Robert Rouse, there is been more press on the war than one can ever lay claim to Jena 6. It's something when a group of people feel as if they are in a state of terrorist, their own countrymen, who want to do them wrong in the name of racism.

Parson ol Jim Crow has never died, he's gone underground and all over the Internet.

Urbanpink said...

I'm reading the book Moral Politics and it notes that many conservatives see illegal immigrants as immoral people (because they are "uninvited"), but they do not see anything wrong with a business owner hiring an illegal immigrant for self-interest (cheap labor). Now I just don't get how they can advocate breaking the law for self-interest with no moral judgment and my book doesn't explain that yet! But that line of thinking goes a long way to explain why our President can brazenly break the law and still hold his party's backing.

Emmanuel M Liu said...

great informative post man,i love the point you made about who will build the wall.

LET'S TALK said...

Hi Urbanpink, and thanks for the visit, I hope that you will take a look at Let's Talk God!

Moral Politics sounds like a great read, I'll look up the author and see about getting a copy.

Thanks Emmanuel M Liu, and that is a question that must be asked.

FunkyTown Fighter said...

EXCELLENT POST L.T.!!!! I knew you would post something GREAT on this subject. What they have done in La. is not only DISGUSTING it proves once more that as much as people would like to beleive racism no longer exists, IT DOES!!
Great Post L.T. keep up the good work!

LET'S TALK said...

Thanks FTF and just think it was posted because you wanted my opinion on Jena 6.

Floyd said...

fairlane said;Racism does not only exist in the "South."

The "North" is every bit as racist, and I see a problem with many "Liberals" who pretend we live in a colorblind world and only the "Redneck Southerners" are "racist."

I worked many years in the north and you better believe they are,,great post Larry, tells all the whole story.

LET'S TALK said...

Thanks floyd and yes, the North is just as bad.

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