Monica Roberts

Jena Six Free!

Filed By Monica Roberts | July 02, 2009 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, Politics, Politics
Tags: African-American, civil rights, Jena 6, justice, legal, Monica Roberts

After 07jena 6 protest.jpgmore than two years of protesting, writing phone calls and thousands of people descending on Jena, Louisiana, to protest this outrageous retro Jim Crow case, the Jena 6, Jesse Ray Beard, Carwin Jones, Robert Bailey, Theo Shaw, Bryant Purvis and Mychal Bell are all free to move ahead with their lives.

The five remaining Jena 6 cases were brought to a conclusion last Friday when Beard, Jones, Bailey, Shaw, and Purvis pleaded "no contest" to misdemeanor simple battery charges.

They will spend no time in jail, serve seven unsupervised days on probation, and were fined $500 and court fees.

It's a remarkable outcome considering the Jena Six were originally and outrageously charged with attempted murder in this small Louisiana town with a racist past for what basically was a schoolyard fight provoked by nooses hung in a tree.

The white students involved in that incident that was euphemistically called a "youthful prank" were only suspended from school. But it led to escalating racial tensions and serious retaliatory incidents against African-Americans in Jena that weren't reported by the MSM or prosecuted either. All they focused on was the fight with Justin Barker.

Thanks to the efforts of Black bloggers, the Jena Six got the attention of Tom Joyner, the African-American community, our civil rights orgs and later the rest of the MSM.

They began to get attention about their plight thanks to, funding and high profile legal representation.

It culminated in 50,000 people coming from all over the United States to peacefully descend on Jena in a televised September 20, 2007, protest.

Because people stood up, these six young men are not rotting in a Louisiana jail for basically BS charges and are moving on with their lives.

While Judge JP Mauffray was removed from the case because of the appearance of bias, unfortunately the person largely responsible for the drama in the first place, LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters, still has his job.

Nevertheless, justice prevailed. It's now up to the Jena 6 to ensure that they take advantage of the opportunity the African-American community and our allies collectively fought to give them and ensure they never do.

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

Great! I love stories that show the power of bloggers to attract attention to injustice.

genderqueer_riff_raff | July 3, 2009 1:50 AM

That is such good news. 50,000 people managed to stand up and keep up the pressure. Thank goodness these young men can get on with their lives after this travesty.

"for what basically was a schoolyard fight provoked by nooses hung in a tree."

Wow, what an apologist for racist violence you are! This was a group of young men attacking a lone victim on account of his race. The victim had nothing to do with the noose supposedly discovered a week earlier. He was attacked not because he had hung nooses, but because he was white and an open target. The attack put him in the hospital.

That isn't "basically a schoolyard fight". That is a serious assault. The charge of attempted murder was too much and was appropriately opposed. But that doesn't mean that the perpetrators are political martyrs or that their actions should be excused or poo-poo'd. Shame on you and this blog. It is encouraging that so few people read it.

Sad but true, Sheila. Look up the Jena Six on wikipedia. Why the Alex Blazes decide to see a group of violent career criminals as martyrs confounds me.

Sheila and JJJJ,

This goes beyond what they did to this white kid. Putting up those nooses, racist objects with an atrocious history, of black men being lynched--how they were strung up and their bodies defiled groups like the KKK.

Check out this image here:

Or this one:

Or this one:

Now think just how twisted and disgusting it was for anyone to have put up those nooses 'as a joke' and I'm sorry, but...doing so was an egregious act of violence and most certainly a contributin factor to the racial tensions evident in the town and with this incident. And those tensions were especialy evident when it came to the prosecution of the Jena 6 teens where initial charges were racially disproportionate

It should be noted that wikipedia should never be used as a source in itself, but rather a stepping stone towards other sources. The page creators and their sources used can't be clearly corroborated (like who put up the nooses and the reaons behind it) Academia would never accept it as a legitimate source and is not acceptable for arguing a complex issue like the Jena 6

It's funny Sheila and JJP immediately came to the defense of Justin Barker and threw the racist 'criminal' shade when he instigated the fight in which he got his butt kicked in the first place.

Betcha didn't know that, because most of the MSM and Faux news glossed over that point.

You also missed the parts in which the Jna Six were targeted because they were the leaders of the Black student protest over the 'white tree'.

In the weeks leading up to the fight, various members of the Jena Six had guns drawn on them, were jumped by several white students at a party in Jena, and attended a Blacks only assembly called by DA Reed Walters and the Jena HS principal in which Walters stated,

"See this pen? I can take away your lives with the stroke of a pen."

So before you start believing the Faux News hype, take the time to look at the big picture.