The Jena 6 Are Free!

In September of 2007, I rode a bus to Jena to march in protest of the blatant prejudice against six young men accused of beating a white classmate. The Jena 6 march caught the attention of the nation and showed that people will not stand for injustice.

Finally, on Friday, June 26, we can be glad that all of the Jena 6 are free.

"The five remaining Jena 6 cases were brought to conclusion on Friday when Jesse Ray, Carwin, Robert, Theo, and Bryant pleaded "no contest" to misdemeanor simple battery charges. They will spend no time in jail, serve seven days of probation, and pay relatively minor fines and court fees.

It's an incredible outcome given that the young men were originally charged with attempted murder in small-town Louisiana and had neither the funds nor the connections to get high-quality representation or attention for their cases." [from]

The sixth teenager charged, Mychal Bell, pleaded guilty to battery in juvenile court on December 3rd, 2007. Unfortunately, with unfair pressure to be perfect after his case was wrapped up, Bell attempted to commit suicide by shooting himself in the chest in December of 2008.

Although this situation may seem to be behind them, we all need to continue to support and pray for these boys. This case is by no means isolated. Men of color are regularly persecuted by the shady judicial system, handed down ridiculous sentences and a frequently branded by the world as criminals. As it's difficult to get back on your feet after a legal ordeal, many men are doomed to fall back into crime as a means of taking care of themselves and their families.

The Jena 6 march and outcome was a big example of the little things we can do to help our brothers. Such as speaking out against injustice, and if you're a business owner, by not judging a potential employee by his record. Understand that he's served his time.

Much love to the Jena 6. I pray you are successful.

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