Thursday, September 20, 2007

My heart is in Jena


Sometimes you are a part of something big and you don't eve realize it. The Jena 6 case comes to mind. Thanks to the Afrospear movement and other bloggers of color out there, I have known about the Jena 6 case for months now. It seemed almost surreal to watch it grow and take on a life of it's own. A newspaper story here, a local news clip there, little by little the country started to take notice, and now....


For those of us black activist who use the web as a tool for change, we have been e-mailing each other, blogging about Jena,calling each other, and organizing on the web for months, about this travesty of justice down in Bayou country. Now, finally, the rest of America has caught on. This is now national news, and the Jena 6 has springboarded into our national conscience. It also reinforces my belief that the Internet and the world wide web can also be used as a tremendous tool for activism and organizing for social change.


Today is the culmination of all the work that everyone that rallied around this case has done. There will be a huge rally in Jena today in support of those six men, and from all indications so far it is going to be massive. Countless buses have already left my area, loaded with activist and people who want a change, and who are all just sick and tired of being tired. African American College students have mobilized and united around this cause, and activism seems to have taken the place of apathy.


It would also be a shame if I didn't mention one newspaper reporter, Howard Witt, from the Chicago Tribune, who was on top of this story from day one, and who was the first in the main stream media to bring attention to Jena. Yes, long before Jessie, Al, and all the usual civil rights camera hounds, Mr. Witt was on this shit like Skippy on Wonder Bread.


So off to work I go. I wish I could be in Jena, but sadly, I guess I am not such a field Negro after all. The plantation work needs to be done, and massa is calling. If I were a real field Negro, I would have told massa to kiss my ass, flew down to Baton Rouge, rented a car, and headed up to Jena. But that's alright, I will get my protest in somehow.
I am wearing black today. It took awhile, but I pulled it off. Black suit,dark gray shirt, and black silk tie. I look like Regis from those old "Who wants to be a millionaire days". But hey, I had to do my part. I am also going to be heading off to a protest this morning out in Westchester, Pennsylvania, because I just had to be a part of this incredible day somehow.


Let's keep those marchers down in Louisiana in our hearts, and let's walk with them---at least in spirit---every step of the way.


Peace.




42 comments:

Jaira said...

I am wearing my black today also. I too, wish I could be down there and support them in person. But at least when folks see me today, they do't have to wonder why I'm in all black.

Femigog said...

I am wearing black today also. And running my mouth non-stop about the Jena 6 so there is no doubt about why I am in the Texas heat dressed in all black from head to toe.

WildMagnolia said...

Wearing black too. My heart is there too. I do my small part and talk about it every chance I can. The worst thing we could do is remain mute because it's not us. It could be.

X

brotherpeacemaker said...

I am in so sad of a financial shape that I simply do not have the funds to go to Jena. I'm going to have to settle for a dark charcoal outfit. I guess I could gone down to the Goodwill and gotten some true black clothing. But regardless my heart is in Jena big time as well.

Peace

--vic said...

Changing into a black shirt right now...

Lola Gets said...

I got my black on, and I was very pleased to see that a few of my coworkers at HS have done the same! Im not going to be able to make it to a protest, though, cause this sistas got to work too.

But it is great to see that grass roots organizations can work!

L

Denise said...

well said, FN!

I'm at home but also clad in black in support of the field brothers and sisters in Jena today.

Don't be too hard on yourself for holding it down in Philly today. The fight against racism is far from over. Sadly, there will be other battles and other opportunities for us to represent, either with or in place of those in the field today.

Good work, family!! The Struggle Continues!

NSangoma said...

"U.S. attorney: Nooses, beating at Jena High not related"
http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/09/19/jena.six.link/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

It is racism if this Bell Negroe got slaps on the knuckles for beating up black folk (conjecture, for we know not what his two previous battery convictions as a juvenile were for) and then thrown under the jail for participating in the beating of a white individual.

"The judge has refused to lower his $90,000 bail, citing Bell's criminal record, which includes four juvenile offenses -- two simple battery charges among them."
http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/09/19/jena.six/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

What do you know of this Mychal Bell Negroe and his previous convictions whilst still a juvenile?

Was he 9 at the time of his offence(s) or 15?

Were the offences close together of separated by some years?

Whom did he attack, male or female, young or olde?

Let's not get on the bandwagon and end up rolling over a cliff with the rest of the mal-informed.

Again, you Jee-na 6 supporter Negroes have been played, and played horrendously; it has been hideous.
`

Zimbel said...

I'm wearing black too. I heard on NPR that there's a sympathy march near Philadelphia city hall sometime today (don't know when; may have mis-heard where).

One correction: "This is now national news" it's actually international news.

A few more articles.

Zimbel said...

@NSangoma-

Your first article seems to state that an unrelated attorney reviewed the cases and thought it would be difficult (if possible) to link these incidents as a legal matter. While interesting, it doesn't seem particularly relevant, other than as one less possible defense in a legal case.

Frankly, I am (so far) mostly disturbed by the legal violations by the judge in his case (which is why the ruling was overturned on appeal) and the behavior of the prosecutor on all 6 cases. I suspect when I see the actual court documents (or any of these cases progresses further), I'll find even more that's disturbing.

As a counter-example that suggests that we aren't making a mountain out of a molehill, see: http://www.aclu.org/racialjustice/edu/31801prs20070914.html - note that at the bottom, the DA sued the ACLU of Louisiana to prevent a fairly routine records request on Jena.

Liz said...

I've got the black on, head to toe. And I noticed that the entire Today Show staff had on all black today as well, unlike the peeps over on ABC and CBS.

natural muze said...

i have my black on....and i'm headed to jena tomorrow for a few post-interviews.(couldn't make it down there today). amazing who you can get in contact with via the internet. lol.

wish me luck!

Anonymous said...

If the a court system would over-react to those without criminal records, then why would we trust the prior adjudications involving the juveniles.

It also might be that Mychal is a warrior--and has been continuall thrusted in these battles---or, it might be, that this is Mychal's redemption.

The only thing qualifier I might add is that Jena 6 is really not unique. This is an everyday occurrence in my residential state of Minnesota. White kid calls black kid the N-word. If Black kid even reacts, black kid arrested in school-charged-and judge admonishes black kid that he/she has to learn to cope better with such racism.

White kid steals from black kid. Black kid insists that white kid return stolen item. Black kid charged with a disorderly conduct but white kid never charged for the theft.

NSangoma said...

Zimbel,

Do you want Mychal Bell type Negroes, 2 juvenile convictions for battery, up in school with your children?
http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/09/19/jena.six/index.html?eref=rss_topstories
`

rikyrah said...

Wearing black today, and even got my mother and sister to dress in black too.

It is odd, FN, because I remember reading about it from a story by Mr. Witt. So happy you gave him a shoutout.

Zimbel said...

@NSangoma-

Your question presumes:
1) That there are no bullies in my kids' school,
2) That I have kids, and
3) That Mychal Bell is a bully.

At best, you have weak evidence for the third point (why is it weak? because the same system that created the Jena 6 created those prior convictions; furthermore, neither of us have information surrounding those incidents). The first point is, in my opinion, ludicrous. I've never heard of a school without bullies.

But, to answer a somewhat more useful question, no, I wouldn't have a problem with Mychal Bell and/or his family moving to my neighborhood. I think he'd face far more equitable justice here than in Jena.

NSangoma said...

zimbel, Shaquanda 'nem welcome too?
`

field negro said...

Way to go fam, I see everyone is black down today. And I see we are all down in the "boot" (slang for Louisiana) in spirit. I went to a nice rally today (out in the burbs no less) And it was all that!

I was also inspired by all the people who work in the court system here repping their black today. I even saw a couple of Judges of color out at lunch with their black.They commented on my outfit,I commented on theirs, and we gave each other a wink. Now that's what's up.

I suspect "nsangoma" is a plant from the Jena DA's office trying to ruin our day. Personally, I am not in the mood for ignorance.

Maybe tomorrow.

august said...

great job everyone. Jokes aside nsangoma translates to 'full of evil' in my native language. How funny!

NSangoma said...

Mychal Bell, Genarlow Wilson, Shaquanda 'nem welcome in your hood too, Field
`

justice58 said...

Field

I'm also dressed head to toe in my black. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Although I couldn't be there in person, my heart is definitely in Jena.

Connecticut Man 1 said...

I put on my black shirt a few minutes after I read this post, though I don't have any black pants to go with them (ruined my last pair!)

Timi said...

I had on a black shirt and grey slacks for a large portion of the day. By mid afternoon, I changed. It got a little too hot.

Next time, can we color co-ordinate? Maybe light blue...or perhaps more seasonally appropriate attire? Please? lol...

My asian co-worker asked, "Why are the black people wearing black...did someone die?" I explained the situation. But uhh...maybe we should wear grey next time.

But all in all, I was walking proudly in my black. It brought a smile to my face every time I saw a brotha or a sista in black. We need to unite like this more often.

Anonymous said...

Black from head to toe, baby. I saw my brothers and sisters in portland representing as well.

It feels good to witness this solidarity.

-Caged Lion

Dirty Red said...

NSangoma
What the fuck is your problem?
What kind of black person are you? Or are you black? Are you a plant like my man field said? I think you need to back the fuck up and post your comments on Fox News. I know there are plenty of people that watch that bullshit that will share your point of view,but you gets nothing here but a sad shake of the head. Open up your eyes and get out of Mr. Charlies House you stupid-ass Negro!! Come out to the fields with the rest of us. It is not that hot out here,besides it sounds like a little sun might do your confused ass some good.

Field,
I couldn't make it down to Jena either. My job had me attending a mandatory Spanish class. But I was rocking my black today, and I mentioned Jena to anyone that would listen. Black Folk and White Folk. It surprised me how many white people did not know what was going on. It just proves that there are two America's. A black one and a white one.

Anonymous said...

Field,

I am absolutely appalled by your ridiculous blog! You are praising criminals. How can you make these thugs into martyrs? Is this what our great leader Dr Martin Luther King would preach? These thugs assaulted a boy who was severly outnumbered and required him to be admitted into a hospital.. If they were real men they would have tried to peacefully resolve their differences. Your mentality is why the city you live in is under siege. Our black men must be shown how to use other conflict resolution methods besides violence. Maybe you should educate yourself with the writings of King and Ghandi. These men are true hero’s. Instead you praise the propaganda being served by poverty pimps such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson in LA. These men are flying leer jets for free to exploit any situation to their benefit. They undermine hard working successful black men. As for your B.S. about wearing black, well save it. A concerned citizen would have taken the time away from his schedule to praise a worthy cause. This leads me to believe you don’t really believe in this cause or are to concerned about your own interest. I can’t imagine the civil rights leaders missing the march on Washington because they had to go to work and they would miss their vanilla latte.
The last question I pose to this blog is what punishment would u recommend for the boys in this incident? I hope this blog doesn’t suggest the boys go free. Should have a mediation so these boys can learn the mistakes of their actions and the harm their actions have caused? I know the field would personally volunteer his time. I never have been so embarrassed as I am today with the comments of Field on this blog.

Hathor said...

Isn't Equal Justice worth marching for.

Jazzylady said...

TROLL.

natural muze said...

^^^^ i see dirty red needs to come curse somebody else out....anonymous people sure have balls.

field's blog ridiculous? okay.

NSangoma said...

"According to court documents, someone hit Barker from behind, knocking him out, and then others began to kick and stomp his "lifeless" body. He spent about three hours in a local emergency room for treatment of injuries to his head and face.

Three months prior to that attack, Bell committed two violent crimes while on probation for a Christmas Day battery in 2005, according to testimony. Later that same week, he led the Jena Giants to a shutout victory in a football game against the Buckeye Panthers.

Bell was adjudicated -- the juvenile equivalent to a conviction -- of battery on Sept. 2 and criminal damage to property on Sept. 3, said Cynthia Bradford, LaSalle Parish deputy clerk.

A few days later, on Sept. 8, Bell rushed 12 times for 108 yards and scored three touchdowns -- one of the best performances of the year for the standout athlete."
http://www.thetowntalk.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070825/NEWS01/708250317/1002

"While it’s undisputed that Mychal Bell was an honor roll student, it is now also proved that he had a criminal record, including violent crimes, starting two years before the Justin Barker beating.

Battery - 12/25/2005
Criminal damage to property - 7/25/2006
Battery - 9/2006
Criminal damage to property - 9/2006
This explains the fact that Bell’s bail was much higher than the others."
http://pursuingholiness.com/2007/08/28/the-jena-6-mychal-bells-criminal-history/

"As expected, the media picks up Mychal Bell's juvenile history to distract from the nooses hanging from the "white" tree and the punishments applied to the black students and no punishment for the white students.

Prosecutor: "Jena Six" defendant had four juvenile convictions
8/25/2007, 6:36 p.m. CDT
The Associated Press
JENA, La. (AP) — The teenager convicted of beating a student at Jena High School in December 2006 had been convicted as a juvenile for attacking someone a year earlier, then committed three more crimes while on probation for that one, prosecutors say.

That makes Mychal Bell's aggravated second-degree battery conviction his fifth conviction for a violent crime, state District Judge J.P. Mauffray Jr. said Friday.

Because of that record, the judge said, he will not reduce the $90,000 bond he set for Mychal Bell, one of six black students arrested in the attack which left a white student bleeding and unconscious."
http://www.vanessabyers.net/video/index.html
`

field negro said...

nsangoma, thanks for your research and pronouncements. At least now we know what the "red neck" talking points are. Of course, as is usually the case with the ignorant, you ar efocusing on the trees and not the forest. This case is not about Mychal Bell, it's about justice, and a Southern town that didn't get the memo that they should at least pretend that racism no longer exists in A-merry-ca.

hathor, of course equal justice is worth marching for, and I think most people commenting here---yourself included, because I know your question was rhetorical--know that.

as for anon. being "appalled by my rediculous blog", I am guessing that anon. is some frustrated white guy, living in a large urban area, who has a serious fear of a black planet. Like nsangoma, he is missing the entire point.

What's sad, is that this guy---anon---is probably some future leader or some shit ;)

Hathor said...

nsangoma,
I didn't know the juvenile records were open to the public eye. If they are not and why have they have been leaked, is it so you can feel justified? That starts the unequal treatment, if were not legal to release those records. I am not a lawyer so I wouldn't know. Having all this information for what purpose, the only purpose I see is to continue to vilify those boys. They can't be angry, have any rage,be provoked and certainly nothing could be done before any of the anger and rage got out of hand. It was said the the black students were told to ignore the nooses. No one thinks to tell the Jew to ignore the intention of swastika. No. Only black people have to be indifferent to our treatment as if we are Zombies (slaves).
I still would like to know what any of your references have to do with equal justice. Now, the racist bloggosphere is going to try the case. I do think most people here know a lot more facts than you. So we really don't need a history lesson.

--vic said...

I bet NSangoma and the "appalled" anon would have no problem having those kids who hung the noose around the tree in their "hood." You're more than welcome to have them.

Hathor said...

nsangoma and anonymous,
To refresh your memory I think this would qualify as a lynching, as James Byrd Jr. was dragged to death in 1998 not 1898.

Nooses are not forgotten.

field negro said...

Thanks hathor!

justice58 said...

"as for anon. being "appalled by my rediculous blog", I am guessing that anon. is some frustrated white guy, living in a large urban area, who has a serious fear of a black planet. Like nsangoma, he is missing the entire point.
___________________________________
My turn! My turn!

Just an assbackwards poor ignorant hillbilly trash that really believe America belongs to white people & the blacks are effing it up! He's just another df! But.... that's just me!

Anonymous said...

I don't think nsangoma is a plant. She commented on the Jena 6 on jackandjillpolitics some time ago. It may have been a little on my part, but I baited her by asking if she thought she was genetically superior to the Jena 6. Here's her answer:

"Please disabuse me of my feelings of genetic superiority".

"Were the biological fathers of any of these 6 Negroe males married to their biological mothers?"

"For there is a difference betwixt saying:

that my baby daddy, and

that is my husband, the father of my children".

"Did the biological fathers of these six Negroe males have anything to do with their..."


She's is also a regular commenter on the Afronerd blog. In other words, she's your typical Jesse Lee Peterson conservative.

field negro said...

"She's is also a regular commenter on the Afronerd blog. In other words, she's your typical Jesse Lee Peterson conservative."

Nuff said 0:

Thanks for that update on our friend anon. I hope she keeps coming back though, altough I doubt if she would be able to last too long out here ;)

Anonymous said...

My Take

1) I feel these kids were rail roaded and made an example of due to the racial tension in the community and the previous fights. That is wrong. I feel the only one who should be doing real time is Bell, but as a juvenile, not an adult. He is a troubled young man. The rest should get time served and let go ASAP.

2) That being said this fight on school property had nothing to do with the nooses, although that added to racial tension as the children were not expelled, and they should have been.

3) Two of the Jena 6 were in a fight off school property when trying to crash a party (which had blacks) just not them...it was invitation only. They were asked to leave and when they did not a group of white guys went outside and fought them.

4) A little while later there was a fight with a few white people (one who was at the party) and one of the Jena 6 people (reportedly) outside a convenience store, Gotta Go.

5) Bell was friends with some of the folks who got in a fight and thought the white kid they jumped, knocked unconscious, and then repeatedly stomped was involved in one of the previous fights and had taunted them. IT was not the same guy. The guy who was stomped was not involved.

Now the victim was no angel either, as he was kicked out of school for a little while for bringing a hunting rifle on school grounds the year before, but there is no evidence he was involved in any noose hanging, racial fights, etc. It was a case of mistaken identity.

5) The prosecutors was wrong to charge them as an adult for second degree battery (which was reduced from attempted murder, however Bell's attorney was black and the jury was only white because the jury pool was white...BECAUSE blacks did not show up for jury duty.

6) My conclusion: I feel these kids got railroaded but I also think due to the seriousness of the crime the kids should have been charged with something, but as juvaniles...Bell deserves to be in jail but not for the time he got.

Also the prosecutor is still charging the other kids.

7) Feds came in and investigated and concluded that there was no direct connection to the nooses and the fight involving the Jena 6, in fact on campus there had been no racial incident in the time in between (which I believe was about 3 months).

I think that although this case reveals racial bias, I am sad that these kids (who I consider thugs) are the poster children for it. Reality is most black and white kids in the town were not fighting anyone. Things were chill for most people although there might have been tension.

All of these kids who were involved in all this fighting (but for the victim I mentioned who was not involved) consider thugs...sorry.

yes, like Nsagoma asked, I wonder where their parents (plural) were.

Anonymous said...

"What the fuck is your problem?
What kind of black person are you? Or are you black? Are you a plant like my man field said? "

Dirty red...you weren't speaking to me, but I found this disturbing. Everyone has a right to their opinion and we should be encouraging dialogue about this and asking black people to think not appealing to populism and calls for racial group-think.

Nsangoma brought up issues that we need to know and need to discuss.

These kids were not fighting "the KKK" they are not Emmitt Tille, this march was not like the March on Selma and this is not 1967.

Was something slick going on...? Most definitely, but don't try to turn thugs into saints to support your political/social beliefs...and blow things up.

Fact is the fact some stupid kids hung a noose on a tree (three or two) does not mean black people have to react like animals. We have self control. We are better than redneck trash or we should be. They are not the standard we should measure ourselves by. Running around half cocked beating down any white person we think "disrespected us" is simply wrong.

The injustice came in how the crime was handled, but it was a crime, don't forget that.

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