Jena, LA – Momentum continues to build in the campaign for the Jena 6, a group of high school students that were arrested on trumped-up charges for a schoolyard fight. Though the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed charges against one defendant, Michael Bell, ruling that the 17-year old should not have been tried in adult court, thousands still plan on traveling to Jena on Thursday to protest what is being called, “a modern day lynching.”
Outraged people are raising their voices, marching in the streets and rallying on campuses across the country to support the Jena Six. Jena is a small town, four hours northwest of New Orleans, Louisiana. The Jena Six are African-American high school students who refuse to be second-class citizens. The Jena Six are standing up for their rights and fighting back against racism in their community. These young men refuse to be insulted, pushed around and harassed. They simply want equality with the whites in their school and community. The Jena Six are now symbolic of the righteousness of rebellion against racist national oppression.
Durham, NC – Speaking to a packed audience of mostly African American students at North Carolina Central University on Oct. 18, Louis Scott, lead attorney for Mychal Bell of the Jena 6, said that the struggle to free the Six was far from over. Reverend William Barber, civil rights leader and president of the North Carolina NAACP, also spoke at the forum. The discussion was focused on the injustices of the Jena 6 case, but speakers at the event also highlighted the ongoing abuses of the criminal justice system used to oppress African Americans here in North Carolina.
Tuscaloosa, AL – Across the country, students held rallies in solidarity with the Jena 6. At the University of Alabama, over 100 students, faculty and staff gathered on the library steps, Sept. 20, the day after the massive rally Jena, Louisiana, demanding justice. The protest, organized by the Social Work Association for Cultural Awareness, the University of Alabama chapter of Students for a Democratic Society and the NAACP. The NAACP chartered a bus of students to attended the rally in Jena, which is being reported as the largest civil rights march in years, with crowd estimates around 20,000.