Do we need a revival of the Civil Rights movement?
By Sam Johns
JENA, Louisiana (BNW) Do we need a revival of the Civil Rights movement to gain social justice in the criminal justice system and end the systemic institutional racism in this country? Perhaps not a rebirth of the Civil Rights movement because it appears to have been a failure in the 60s. If you dont think so, why are we fighting the same battles that were supposed to have been won by the movement in the 60s, and led by many of the same Black leaders who are out there today?
There needs to be a change in tactics! This marching shit aint working because we are fighting the same battles over and over again. If you do the same thing over and over again, and expect different results, thats the mark of a crazy person.Try something else, you fool!
It's like being on a treadmill; the treadmill is going faster than you can keep up so you are not making any progress. Youre going backwards. While tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Jena, Louisiana, Thursday to show support for the "Jena 6," six Black teens charged in the beating of a white classmate, who will support the millions of young Black men caught in the real vise called the US criminal justice system.
I thought we won equal justice under the law during the civil rights movement. I thought Martin won that fight forty years ago. So, why are we still fighting it today?
Thursday was the day Mychal Bell expected to find out his punishment for his alleged role in the school beating. Yet millions of innocent Blacks find themselves caught in a system that is designed to offset the 13th, 14th, and 15th, amendments to the US Constitution that outlawed slavery.
"This is a march for justice. This is not a march against whites or against Jena," said the Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist and one of the protest organizers. Unfortunately, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson might be on the wrong side of history in that they have conspired in believing that we won the Civil Rights movement, when it was all a big lie. The Civil Rights movement was crated by whites to make Blacks think that they had accomplished something during the "Turbulent 60's," when we are still fighting for civil rights, now!
Sharpton called Jena the beginning of the 21st century civil rights movement. He said he was also shocked that when he went to see Mychal Bell, that the boy was in cuffs and chains. Where you been, nigger, they all are in cuffs and chains. Thats how we hold these niggers down in the bottom: in chains and leg shackles! That nigger Al Sharpton must be from New York or somewhere because he so' ain't from down here.
"The Rev. Martin Luther King went to Selma. Sharotin said. That wasn't the only place you couldn't vote. That was the point of action," Sharpton continued. "They went to Birmingham. That wasn't the only place we didn't have public accommodations. It was the point of action.
"Jena is a point of action for the Jenas everywhere," Sharpton said. I hear a white woman right now saying how go the south is, and I bet that there is a church on every courner. It's not about race the whites in Jena are saying. "There's a Jena in every state," the Rev. Jesse Jackson told the crowd in Jena on Thursday morning.
JoAnn Scales, who brought her three teenage children on a two-day bus journey from Los Angeles to Jena, made the same point.
"The reason I brought my children is because it could have been one of them" involved in an incident like the one in Jena.
"If this can happen to them [the Jena 6] , it can happen to anyone," Scales said.
Ondra Hathaway was on the bus with Scales.
"If this young man (Bell) was railroaded to do time as an adult, how many more people has that happened to?" she said.
At 8 a.m. ET, a Louisiana state patrol officer said five tour buses were being allowed into the town every 12 minutes. That resulted in buses lined up as far as the eye could see in both directions on Route 49.
As the crowd grew in Jena, they found most of the local population gone, reported CNN's Tony Harris. The town's businesses had shut down, he said.
Demonstrators are protesting what they say are excessive criminal charges and bond amounts for the teens.
Bell, 17, has been in prison since his arrest in December.
"It breaks our heart to see him handcuffed and in leg shackles," Sharpton said. "But his spirit is high. He has said that he is very encouraged to know that thousands are coming to this town to stand up for him and his five friends."
The teens were initially charged with attempted murder after they allegedly knocked out Justin Barker a white classmate while stomping and kicking him during a school fight on December 4, 2006.
Barker was taken to a hospital with injuries to both eyes and ears, as well as cuts. His right eye had blood clots, said his mother, Kelli Barker.
LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters urged the world not to forget the victim in the case. This cracker is sick and typical of all these crackers in the south. They sit up here and try to destroy the lives of these Black men in the name of a corrupt justice system and expect you to like it. Just like Adolf Hitler with the Jews, District Attorney Reed Walters is for extermination of young Black men in the name of American justice.
"With the stroke of a pen I can end any nigger's life," District Attorney Reed Walters said about the Jena 6. By the way, District Attorney Reed Walters is a southern Christian.
"The injury done to him and threats to his survival have become less than a footnote," Walters said Wednesday.
"This case has not, never has been about race. It's about finding justice for an innocent victim, holding people accountable for their actions. That is what it's about," he said.
Five of the black teens were charged as adults. Bell was the first to face felony charges.
Advocates of the Jena 6 said the story actually began three months earlier, when three white students hung nooses from a tree on campus. The white students were suspended from school but didn't face criminal charges. The protesters argue they should have been charged with a hate crime.
Thursday morning, demonstrators walked to the high school, asking to see the tree where nooses were hung. They couldn't; the tree has been chopped down. Charges against Bell were reduced, as were charges against Carwin Jones and Theodore Shaw, who have not yet come to trial.
Robert Bailey, Bryant Purvis and an unidentified juvenile remain charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Bell, who was 16 at the time of the fight, was to have been sentenced on battery and conspiracy convictions Thursday. But a district judge earlier this month tossed out his conviction for conspiracy to commit second-degree battery, saying the matter should have been handled in the juvenile court.
Thousands of people from across the United States descended on a small town in central Louisiana on Thursday to protest what they say is injustice against six black teenagers charged over a high school fight.
Protesters arrived in buses and cars from cities as far away and apart as New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles and New Orleans for a rally in support of the "Jena 6."
The case has become a symbol for many African Americans of a wider struggle against racism and perceived discrimination against Black males by the criminal justice system.
"I feel like it (injustice against blacks) has been happening for years and ... (the "Jena 6" incident) is just one of those things that gets national attention," said Esau Dorrough, a retailer who took two days off work and traveled nine hours by bus from Atlanta to attend the protest.
The case has its origins in an incident in August last year when three nooses were found hanging from a tree at the high school in the town of 3,000 northwest of New Orleans.
Black residents said that incident stoked tension in the town and in December the teenagers were charged with assault after a white schoolmate was beaten up.
Charges against some of the boys were later raised to attempted murder, drawing accusations from protesters that they had been excessively charged. Those charges have since been reduced.
For many blacks the "Jena 6" has attained the status of a modern-day version of the incidents that punctuated the U.S. civil rights movement in the 1960s
Last week, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Lake Charles, Louisiana, did the same with Bell's battery conviction.
But a Louisiana appeals court ruled Tuesday it was too early to consider a motion to free Bell from prison.
Meanwhile, the U.S. attorney who reviewed investigations into the nooses and the beating said he believes the incidents though likely symptoms of racial tension were not related.
"A lot of things happened between the noose hanging and the fight occurring, and we have arrived at the conclusion that the fight itself had no connection," said Donald Washington, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana.
"There were three months of high school football in which they all played football together and got along fine, in which there was a homecoming court, in which there was the drill team, in which there were parades," Washington added.
Word about it has spread through the black community partly through syndicated radio shows by civil rights leader Al Sharpton and popular disc jockey Michael Baisden but the case has remained little known among the wider U.S. public.
VYING FOR BLACK VOTE
Several candidates for the Democratic nomination for president including senators Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards issued statements urging justice in the case. The candidates are vying for black votes.
In his statement, Obama welcomed the reduced charges against the teenagers and said he hoped that the decision would "lead the prosecutor to reconsider the excessive charges brought against all the teenagers in this case."
The protest was originally timed to coincide with the sentencing of one of the students, Mychal Bell, convicted on charges including aggravated second-degree battery.
He was tried before an all-white jury which civil rights leaders said is itself evidence of discrimination.
This month the conviction was overturned, in part because Louisiana's Third Circuit Court ruled that he should not have been tried as an adult.
Prosecutor Donald Washington, U.S. attorney in the western district of Louisiana, said some of the facts of the case had been exaggerated. He said there was no direct link between the noose incident and the December fight, which he said was motivated by "male bravado" rather than race.
Some black community leaders in Jena said the case was an example of wider problems in the town of 3,000, which they said was effectively segregated and had few opportunities for blacks 40 years after the end of segregation.
"Blacks live on one side of town. Whites live in another side of town. We live in a segregated city. We've done it all our lives. It's not something that we want but it's something we can't do anything about," said B.L. Moran, pastor of Antioch church in the town and a rally organizer.
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