Jena 6 Solidarity Rally, Sept 20, Raleigh
Posted by raleighfist on September 14, 2007
Youth, Students, Parents, Labor & Community Activists and all Justice-minded Neighbors who cannot go to Jena, Louisiana to show support for the Jena 6 are invited to come out to a:
Thursday; September 20, 2007
6:00pm at the
Fruit of Labor World Cultural Center
4200 Lake Ridge Drive; Raleigh, NC
Nooses hung from a schoolyard tree in Jena, La are reminiscent of the narrow and racist attitudes
□ of those who hung nooses in workplaces in North Carolina two years ago. . .
□ of those who burned crosses in Middlesex and Durham last year & in 2005. . .
□ of those who are more than two times likely to expel Black youth from school or more than three times likely to place them in alternative schools in Wake County. . .
□ of those who don’t care about the 47% drop-out rate of Latino students in Wake County. . .
□ of those who continue to criminalize youth of color and campaign to spend more money on prosecuting them and putting them in jail than in providing educational, recreational and training programs for them. . .
□ of those who continue to deny the basic human right of collective bargaining to public workers in NC. . .
□ & of those who are refusing to rebuild New Orleans for working class residents to return.
We Must Stand Up! We Must Speak Out!
Come Out for stimulating discussion, music & poetry
Our War is Here at Home! Not in Iraq!
Refreshments will be provided.
Call 919-876-7187 or email: FruitofLaborWCC@netscape.com for more information.
Sponsored by: the Wake-Durham Chapter of Black Workers for Justice, the Fruit of Labor World Cultural Center & Raleigh Youth
Directions: 1-440 north to Capital Blvd. north, exit #11; follow Capital Blvd./US 1/401N and make a left onto New Hope Church Rd. (Tarrymore Sq. shopping center is on the left); stay in the right lane and make the first right onto Deana Ln.; go 2 short blocks to Lake Ridge Dr; gray bldg. on the corner.
ABOUT THE JENA 6:
Jena is a small rural town of less than 4,000 people nestled deep in the heart of Central Louisiana. It has become a focal point in the debate around issues of race and justice in this country. Black residents say that race has always been an issue in Jena, which is 85 percent white, and that the charges against the Jena Six are no exception. Six black students were charged with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy. They face up to 100 years in prison without parole. The Jena Six, as they have come to be known, range in age from 15 to 17 years old.
* On Thursday, August 31, 2006, a small group of black students asked if they could sit under a tree on the traditionally white side of the Jena High School square.
* The students were informed by the Vice Principal that they could sit wherever they pleased.
* The following day, September 1, 2006, three nooses were found hanging from the tree in question. Two of the nooses were black and one was gold: the Jena High School colors.
* On Tuesday night, September 5, 2006, a group of black parents convened at the L&A Missionary Baptist Church in Jena to discuss their response to what they considered a hate crime and an act of intimidation.
* When black students staged an impromptu protest under the tree on Wednesday, September 6, 2006, a school assembly was hastily convened. Flanked by police officers, District Attorney Reed Walters warned black students that additional unrest would be treated as a criminal matter. According to multiple witnesses, Walters warned the black student protestors that, “I can make your lives disappear with a stroke of my pen.” This was widely interpreted as a reference to the filing of charges carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison.
* On Thursday, September 7th, police officers patrolled the halls of Jena High School and on Friday, September 8th, the school was placed on full lockdown. Most students, black and white, either stayed home, or were picked up by parents shortly after the lockdown was imposed. The Jena Times suggested that black parents were to blame for the unrest at the school because their September 5th gathering had attracted media attention.
* Principal Scott Windham recommended to an expulsion hearing committee that the three white boys responsible for hanging the nooses in the tree should be expelled from school.
* On Thursday September 7, 2006, asserting that the noose were merely a silly prank inspired by a hanging scene in the television min-series ‘Lonesome Dove’, the committee opted for a few days of in-school suspension. The names of the three students were not released to the public for reasons of confidentiality.
* According to press accounts, on September 10, 2006, several dozen black parents attempted to address a meeting of the school board but were refused an opportunity to speak.
* At a second September meeting of the school board, September 18, 2006, a representative of the black families was allowed to give a five-minute statement, but school board refused to discuss the “noose issue” because the matter had been fully addressed and resolved.
* Although few major disciplinary issues emerged during the fall semester at Jena High School, there is strong evidence that several black male students remained unusually agitated throughout the semester and that disciplinary referrals on these students spiked sharply.
* On Thursday, November 30, 2006, the academic wing of the Jena High School was largely destroyed by a massive fire. Officials strongly suspect arson.
* Throughout the following weekend, Jena was engulfed by a wave of racially tinged violence. In one incident, a black student was assaulted by a white adult as he entered a predominantly white partly held at the Fair Barn (a large metal building reserved for social events). After being struck in the face without warning, the young black student was assaulted by white students wielding beer bottles and was punched and kicked before adults broke up the fight. It has been reported that the white assailant who threw the first punch was subsequently charged with simple battery (a misdemeanor), but there is no documentary evidence that anyone was charged. In a second major incident, a white high school graduate who had been involved in the assault the night before pulled a pump-action shotgun on three black high school students as they exited the Gotta-Go, a local convenience store. After a brief struggle for possession of the firearm, the black students exited the scene with the weapon. The black students were charged with aggravated battery and theft.
* The Jena Times has reported that, in light of these racially-tinged incidents, several high school teachers begged school administrators to postpone the resumption of classes until the wave of hysteria had dissipated. This request was ignored and classes resumed the morning of Monday, December 4, 2006.
* Shortly after the lunch hour of Monday, December 4, 2006, a fight between a white student and a black student reportedly ended with the white student [Justin Barker, later arrested for having a rifle with 13 bullets in his truck in the school parking lot.] being knocked to the floor. Several black students reportedly attacked the white student as he lay unconscious. Because the incident took place in a crowded area and was over in a matter of seconds eye witness accounts vary widely. Written statements from students closest to the scene (in space and time) suggest that the incident was sparked by an angry exchange in the gymnasium moments before in which the black student assaulted at the Fair Barn was taunted for having his “ass whipped”.
* The victim of the attack is close friends of the boys who have admitted to hanging the nooses in September of 2006.
* Within an hour of the fight, six black students were arrested and charged with aggravated battery. According to The Jena Times, at least a dozen teachers subsequently threatened a “sick-out” if discipline was not restored to the school. According to the Alexandria Town Talk, District Attorney Reed Walters responded to the teacher’s threat by upping the charges on the six boys to attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder–charges carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison.