Racism rears its ugly head in Louisiana
The state flag of Louisiana
The website ColorofChange.org, set up after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, is now focusing its efforts on a new tragedy – the Jena 6.
There are countless cases of injustice across the globe, but this is one of those that defies logic.
The Jena 6, as they are now known, are six black students being tried because they physically fought against white students who had hung nooses on “their” tree in the schoolground, after one of the black students dared to sit there for the first time to escape the heat.
The below standard letter to Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco is for people to sign and send on the Color of Change website.
The letter details the injustice going on right now – read on and let us know what you think of the situation.
Dear Governor Blanco,
I am writing to request your intervention into a situation of great injustice taking place in Jena, LA, as well as a written response to this letter.
Last fall, when two Black high school students sat under the “white” tree on their campus, white students responded by hanging nooses from the tree. When Black students protested the light punishment for the students who hung the nooses, District Attorney Reed Walters came to the school and told the students he could “take [their] lives away with a stroke of [his] pen.”
Racial tension continued to mount in Jena, and the District Attorney did nothing in response to several egregious cases of violence and threats against black students. But when a white student–who had been a vocal supporter of the students who hung the nooses–taunted a black student, allegedly called several black students “nigger”, and was beaten up by black students, six black students were charged with second-degree attempted murder. Last month, the first young man to be tried, Mychal Bell, was convicted. Later this month, he will be sentenced to up to 22 years in prison for a school fight.
I would like to believe that what is happening in Jena is not consistent with your values, or with what the State of Louisiana sees as justice. I have asked District Attorney Reed Walters to drop all charges against the five young men awaiting trial. You should act immediately to prevent the sentencing of Mychal Bell–the young man who has already been convicted–via a pardon if necessary. And you must investigate the conduct of District Attorney Reed Walters, whose actions are a blatant and unacceptable abuse of power, to begin the process of healing in Jena and to make sure this never happens again.
[your name here]