Thursday, July 19, 2007

Freedom for the Jena Six

The latter is information I've received from a number of good friends. I'm going to see
when I can get down there as well.

i dont know if yall saw this. but its rather shocking. take a good look.
im thinking about going to Louisiana in mid-August if i can...

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: [fireitup] Serious Jim Crow Racism in Louisiana - We REALLY need
Date: Wed, July 18, 2007 12:22 pm

Six young black men are headed for 20+ year prison sentences in a clear
case of Jim Crow "justice."

Photo of Jena Six Parents

Their families are fighting but need our support. Will you stand with them?

Click Here
Dear Pam,

Last fall in Jena, Louisiana, the day after two Black high school students
sat beneath the "white tree" on their campus, nooses were hung from the
tree. When the superintendent dismissed the nooses as a "prank," more
Black students sat under the tree in protest. The District Attorney then
came to the school accompanied by the town's police and demanded that the
students end their protest, telling them, "I can be your best friend or
your worst enemy... I can take away your lives with a stroke of my pen."1

A series of white-on-black incidents of violence followed, and the DA did
nothing. But when a white student was beaten up in a schoolyard fight, the
DA responded by charging six black students with attempted murder and
conspiracy to commit murder.

It's a story that reads like one from the Jim Crow era, when judges,
lawyers and all-white juries used the justice system to keep blacks in
"their place"--but it's happening today. The families of these young men
are fighting back, but the odds are stacked against them. Together, we can
make sure their story is told, that this becomes an issue for the Governor
of Louisiana, and that justice is provided for the Jena 6. It starts now.
Please add your voice:

The noose-hanging incident and the DA's visit to the school set the stage
for everything that followed. Racial tension escalated over the next
couple of months, and on November 30, the main academic building of Jena
High School was burned down in an unsolved fire. Later the same weekend, a
black student was beaten up by white students at a party. The next day,
black students at a convenience store were threatened by a young white man
with a shotgun. They wrestled the gun from him and ran away. While no
charges were filed against the white man, the students were arrested for
the theft of the gun.2

That Monday at school, a white student, who had been a vocal supporter of
the students who hung the nooses, taunted the black student who was beaten
up at the off-campus party and allegedly called several black students
"nigger." After lunch, he was knocked down, punched and kicked by black
students. He was taken to the hospital but was released and was well
enough to go to a social event that evening.3

Six Black Jena High students, Robert Bailey (17), Theo Shaw (17), Carwin
Jones (18), Bryant Purvis (17), Mychal Bell (16) and an unidentified
minor, were expelled from school, arrested and charged with second-degree
attempted murder. Bail was set so high -- between $70,000 and $138,000 --
that the boys were left in prison for months as families went deep into
debt to release them.4

The first trial ended last month, and Mychal Bell, who has been in prison
since December, was convicted of aggravated battery and conspiracy to
commit aggravated battery (both felonies) by an all-white jury in a trial
where his public defender called no witnesses. During his trial, Mychal's
parents were ordered not to speak to the media and the court prohibited
protests from taking place near the courtroom or where the judge could see

Mychal is scheduled to be sentenced on July 31st, and could go to jail for
22 years.5 Theo Shaw's trial is next. He will finally make bail this week.

The Jena Six are lucky to have parents and loved ones who are fighting
tooth and nail to free them. They have been threatened but they are
standing strong. We know that if the families have to go it alone, their
sons will be a long time coming home. They will lose precious years to
Jena's outrageous attempt to maintain a racist status quo. But if we act
now, we can make a difference.

Please add your voice to the voices of these families in Jena, and help
bring Mychal, Theo, Robert, Carwin, and Bryant home. By clicking below,
you can demand that Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco get involved to
make sure that justice is served for Mychal Bell, and that DA Reed Walters
drop the charges against the 5 boys who have not yet gone to trial.

Thank You and Peace,

-- James, Van, Gabriel, Clarissa, and the rest of the team
July 17th, 2007

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