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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Jena 6 - Day of Blogging for Justice




Justice for the Jena 6

Source: Democracy Now

The lives of six young black men are being ruined by Jim Crow justice in Jena, Louisiana.
Six black students at Jena High School in Central Louisiana were arrested last December after a school fight in which a white student was beaten and suffered a concussion and multiple bruises. The six black students were charged with attempted murder and conspiracy. They face up to 100 years in prison without parole. The fight took place amid mounting racial tension after a black student sat under a tree in the schoolyard where only white students sat. The next day three nooses were hanging from the tree. [includes rush transcript]
Jena is a small town nestled deep in the heart of Central Louisiana. Until recently, you may well have never heard of it. But this rural town of less than 4,000 people has become a focal point in the debate around issues of race and justice in this country.

Last December, six black students at Jena High School were arrested after a school fight in which a white student was beaten and suffered a concussion and multiple bruises. The 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.

Just over a week ago, an all-white jury took less than two days to convict 17 year-old Mychal Bell, the first of the Jena Six to go on trial. He was convicted of aggravated battery and conspiracy charges and now faces up to 22 years in prison.

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.

The origins of the story can be traced back to early September when a black high school student requested permission to sit under a tree in the schoolyard where usually only white students sat. The next day three nooses were found hanging from the tree.


freethejenasixpicture.jpg

AMY GOODMAN: Jena is a small town nestled deep in the heart of Central Louisiana. Until recently, you may well never have heard of it. But this rural town of less than 4,000 has become a focal point in the debate around issues of race and justice in this country.

Last December, six black students at Jena High School were arrested after a school fight in which a white student was beaten and suffered a concussion and multiple bruises. The six black students were charged with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy. They face up to 100 years in prison without parole.


The Jena 6, as they have come to be known, range in age from fifteen to seventeen. Just over a week ago, an all-white jury took less than two days to convict seventeen-year-old Mychal Bell, the first of the Jena 6 to go on trial. He was convicted of aggravated battery and conspiracy charges and now faces up to twenty-two years in prison. Black residents say race has always been an issue in Jena, which is 85% white and that the charges against the Jena 6 are no exception.

The origins of the story can be traced back to early September, when a black high school student requested permission to sit under a tree in the schoolyard, where usually only white students sat. The next day, three nooses were found hanging from the tree.

Democracy Now! correspondent Jacquie Soohen has more on the story from Jena.

JESSE BEARD: Black girls over there, black boys right here. Some black people standing right -- a couple. All the band geeks right there. White folks under the tree. And then you might -- it’s like…

JACQUIE SOOHEN: Jesse Beard, a freshman in high school and one of Jena 6, took us to where the nooses were hung.

JESSE BEARD: One day, I just wanted to -- maybe the first, second day, we started riding the bus, me and Robert. And we came through, and I seen something hanging there. I told Robert. He looked at it. He’s like, “Them nooses right there.” He was getting mad. Everybody was getting -- I started getting mad. By the time everybody came, they was trying to cut them down.

JACQUIE SOOHEN: Robert Bailey, seventeen years old and a safety receiver for the school football team, is another of the Jena 6 facing life behind bars. He described his reaction to the nooses.

ROBERT BAILEY: It was in the early morning. I seen them hanging. I’m thinking the KKK, you know, were hanging nooses. They want to hang somebody. Real nooses, the ones you see on TV are the kind of nooses they were, the ones they play in the movies and they were hanging all the people, you know, and the thing dropped, those were the kind of nooses they were. I know it was somebody white that hung the nooses in the tree. You know, I don’t know another way to put it, but, you know, I was disappointed, because, you know, we do little pranks -- you know, toilet paper, that’s a prank, you know what I’m saying? Paper all over the square, all the pranks they used to do, that’s pranks. Nooses hanging there -- nooses ain't no prank.

JACQUIE SOOHEN: The school’s superintendent dismissed the nooses as a prank, and after three days’ suspension, the three white students who hung the nooses were allowed back to school. Caseptla Bailey, Robert's mother, said the school did not inform the parents of the incident.

CASEPTLA BAILEY: The school didn’t tell me. I didn’t know that it happened, so therefore I didn’t call to find out what happened on that particular day.

JACQUIE SOOHEN: To Caseptla Bailey, the meaning of the nooses was clear.

CASEPTLA BAILEY: It meant hatred, to the other race. It meant that “We’re going to kill you, you're going to die.” You know, it sent a message: “This is not the place for you to sit. This is not your damn tree. Do not sit here. You know, you ought to remain in your place, know your place and stay in your place. You’re out of your boundaries.” And the first thing now that the sheriff department or that the chief of police want to say that -- as well as the superintendent -- one had nothing to do with the other. Now, come on now!

JACQUIE SOOHEN: Most people we spoke to in Jena’s white community, however, see no connection between the students’ charges and race. Barbara Murphy, the town librarian, claims there isn’t a race problem in Jena.

BARBARA MURPHY: We don’t have a race problem. It’s not black against white. It’s crime. The nooses? I don’t even know why they were there, what they were supposed to mean. There’s pranks all the time, of one type or another, going on. And it just didn’t seem to be racist to me.

JACQUIE SOOHEN: A few days after the nooses were hung, the entire black student body staged an impromptu demonstration, crowding underneath the tree during lunch hour. Justin Purvis, the student who first asked to sit underneath the tree, described how the protest came about.

JUSTIN PURVIS: It was like, the first beginning, in the courtyard, they said, “Y’all want to go stand under the tree?” We said, “Yeah.” They said, “If you go, I’ll go. If you go, I’ll go.” One person went, the next person went, everybody else just went.

JACQUIE SOOHEN: The school responded to the protest by calling police and the district attorney. At an assembly the same day, the District Attorney Reed Walters, accompanied by armed policeman, addressed the students. Substitute teacher Michelle Rogers, one of the few black teachers at the school, was there. She recalls the DA's words to the assembled high schoolers.

MICHELLE ROGERS: The kids didn't say anything. They were listening. The kids were quiet. And so, District Attorney Reed Walters, you know, proceeded to tell those kids that “I could end your lives with the stroke of a pen.” And the kids were just -- it was like in awe that the district -- you know, Reed Walters would tell these kids that. He held a pen in his hand and told those kids that, “See this pen in my hand? I can end your lives with the stroke of a pen.”

JACQUIE SOOHEN: A series of incidents followed throughout the fall. In October, a black student was beaten for entering a private all-white party. Later that month, a white student pulled a gun on a group of black students at a gas station, claiming self-defense. The black students wrestled the gun away and reported the incident to police. They were charged with assault and robbery of the gun. No charges were ever filed against the white students in either incident. Then, in late November, someone tried to burn down the high school, creating even more tension.

Four days later, a white student was allegedly attacked in a school fight. The victim was taken to hospital and released shortly with a concussion. He attended a school function that evening. Six black students were charged with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, on charges that leave them facing between twenty and one hundred years in jail. The defendants, ranging in age from fifteen to seventeen, had their bonds set at between $70,000 and $138,000. The attack was written up in the local paper as fact, and DA Reed Walters published a statement in which he said, "When you are convicted, I will seek the maximum penalty allowed by law."

MINISTER: We have come today to stand against what we consider to be a great evil.

JACQUIE SOOHEN: Since their arrest, the defendants’ families have been speaking out and fighting for the release of their sons. Two of the six, including Mychal Bell, who was recently convicted, were unable to make bond and have spent close to seven months in jail to date. More HERE

More HERE

Please join us! Sign the Jena 6 Petition

we need intervention into a situation of great injustice taking place in Jena, LA. Write a letter to the media. Here is a list of newspaper contacts - HERE. We encourage you to contact the national media to pick up the story. Press Release: Afrosphere Bloggers Ask Media to Cover Jena 6

Write the letters from the list-HERE.

Jena 6 - Day of Blogging for Justice.

Hat Tip: Electronic Village

Jena 6: An American Tragedy

[NOTE: The AfroSpear called for 8/30/07 to be a Day of Blogging for Justice. We want to focus the attention of the nation on the Jena 6 case. As such, I am re-running a post that I created earlier this month. It provides a comprehensive background for those that may be coming late to the party. There are some action steps for you take listed at the end of this post. Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. Let's show these young students in Jena, LA that we have their back. peace, Villager]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In a small highly segregated rural Louisiana town of Jena in September 2006, a Black student asked permission from school administrators to sit under the shade of a tree commonly reserved for the enjoyment of white students. School officials advised the Black students to sit wherever they wanted and they did. The next day, three nooses, in the school colors, were hanging from the same tree.


The Jena high school principal found that three white students were responsible and recommended expulsion. The white superintendent of schools over-ruled the principal and gave the students a three day suspension, saying that the nooses were "a youthful stunt." Black students decided to resist and organized a sit-in under the tree to protest the lenient treatment given to the noose-hanging white students.

More HERE

Katrina

I just read a great post over at Jack and Jill Politics regarding the many people who would like to be President and what they are saying or not saying about the Gulf Region. You know, the region that every seems to forget except during the photo op anniversary.

Jack and Jill Politics
took a jog around presidential candidate websites to see how they were responding publicly to the public's dismay/astonishment over what happened 2 years ago and what hasn't happened (in terms of Gulf Coast relief and recovery) since. (the photo above was taken not long after the levees breached in New Orleans and people were drowning).

Check out what they found. HERE




Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Gulf Coast and the Day of Bogging for Justice

The Gulf Coast After Katrina…


By D. Yobachi Boswell at: blackperspective.net

…A Study In Disparities and Deferential Treatment

Even though tomorrow is the official Day of Bogging for Justice it really starts today.

I’ve already recently given you my perspective on the current condition after taking my first trip back to Biloxi and New Orleans since Katrina, earlier this summer: Katrina Nearly Two Years Later. So you can check that out for the layout of the situation, and I can get straight to other issues here.

Katrina has highlighted many disparities, both micro and macro; which are racial, social and economic.

On the micro level, prisoners where left to wallow in flood waters in prisons; even minors. Elderly in nursing homes, who were of no particular means, were left to drown. And those who couldn’t afford transportation and or lodging if they were to leave; were left to fend for themselves - and for the most part those same type of people still are. My personal visit to the Lower 9th Ward, as documented in Katrina Nearly Two Years Later makes me certain of that. Not to mention that renters are getting almost no help, with rental units being 3 times what they cost before the storm.

On a micro level, politics is being played with this recovery effort. Mississippians lost much as well as New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana; and certainly needed grave financial assistance form the federal recovery legislation. But shouldn’t the amounts distributed be relative to the damage received, or something there about? Read more at: blackperspective.net

New Orleans

New Orleans Marks 2nd Anniversary of Katrina





President Bush greets New Orleans residents, pledges to rebuild the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast. (Reuters)

What's wrong with this picture. First this guy (George W) shows up to make another bogus pledge to rebuild the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast Right!

Check out his body posture and language, the black women hugging him, and him (bush) with his bogus half-hug. Then as usual he says he will seek more money for war $50 Billion.

WaPo reports the move to ask for $50 Billion more for war appears to reflect increasing White House confidence that it can fend off congressional calls for a rapid drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq.

AAPP: I wonder how much money has gone to residents of New Orleans and other parts of the gulf coast to really provide assistance? How much money is Bush asking for to rebuild an American city? From all indications - NONE.

Multimedia Report: Two Years After Katrina

Visit the our new African American Opinion Networking Blog to talk about this and many other issues, with other Black men and women.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Interracial Dating

Three different views of Interracial dating from 3 Black Women.







Visit the new African American Opinion Networking Blog to talk about this and many other issues, with other Black men and women.

Larry Craig is Gay!



Yes I said it. Sue Me! Come out Larry, Come Out! This is not gay bashing, this is just urging all you closet gay members of our congress to come out!



Mr. Bogus Conservative and the ultra right wing President RR.
“Craig denies everything to the Idaho Statesman” post


I'm not the only one saying it.
The Blogosphere Was Right: Senator Larry Craig is Gay

Hat Tip: andrew sullivan

From Roll Call:

"Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.

Craig’s arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8.

A spokesman for Craig described the incident as a “he said/he said misunderstanding,” and said the office would release a fuller statement later Monday afternoon.

After he was arrested, Craig, who is married, was taken to the Airport Police Operations Center to be interviewed about the lewd conduct incident, according to the police report. At one point during the interview, Craig handed the plainclothes sergeant who arrested him a business card that identified him as a U.S. Senator and said, “What do you think about that?” the report states."

Larry Craig - Gay Boy! In November, 2006, Craig flamboyantly endorsed Idaho's successful anti-gaygay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships in his state. Yes, Mr Conservative Republican ... constitutional amendment, HJR 2.

America's United States Congress and Senate seems to be all gay. Maybe you Republicans and Republican lovers should take another look at Romney. Is he a closet gay guy? All of a sudden Larry Craig's pro-Romney video is taken down Is there a connection? Closeted Gay Republican Sen. Larry Craig's Video Supporting Mitt.

Yes I said it! Yes, we should call the United States Gay Senate, and the United States Gay House of Representatives. Now we have coming out of the closet, oops, coming out of the airport. Read Idaho Senator Larry Craig's Arrest Report.

The Smoking Gun has posted a copy of Larry Craig's arrest report, filed by Sgt. Dave Karsnia (above).

GaySouthFlorida has the video of then Congressman Larry Craig issuing a public denial to rumors that he is gay and called the talk "dispicable." Here's an ABC News report from July 1982:

New Orleans

AAPP says: Well it's about time the NAACP said something about Katrina Victims and the Federal response. But will letter writing to these group of pathetic politicians actually provide any impact on the day to day lives of Katrina victims? When was the last time the NAACP moved people to real action? What type of real action will it take to get Congress to get off it assets (our tax$$) stop supporting war and support our people at home?

OK, I still plan to call and write my Congressman and U.S. Senator will you?

HatTip: Bronze Trinity

The Issue:

In the next few days, Congress will return from recess with 60 days to decide on the 2008 Federal Budget, including continuing funds for Gulf Coast recovery efforts and assistance for Katrina survivors. But, the President’s budget proposal does not provide adequate funding for many of the key programs that provide housing, education and health care assistance in the region.

The President’s budget does not renew the $500 million Social Service Block Grant to help hurricane ravaged areas of the Gulf Coast fund child welfare, employment services, and other state and local social programs. And neither the President’s budget nor any proposals from Congress include additional funds for The Road Home, a program designed to help those displaced by Katrina and Rita with housing issues, even though this program was forced to stop accepting applications on July 31st because of a $5 billion shortfall.

THE ACTION We Need You To Take:

Contact your Representative and both your Senators. To contact your Senators and Representative, you may:

  • Make a Phone Call:
    Call your Senators and your Representative in Washington by dialing the Capitol Switchboard and asking to be transferred to your Senators'/Congressman’s offices. The switchboard phone number is (202) 224-3121 (see message section, below).
  • Write a Letter
    To write letters to your Senators, send them to:
    The Honorable (name of Senator)
    U.S. Senate
    Washington, D.C. 20515

    To write a letter to your Representative, send it to:
    The Honorable (name of Representative)
    U.S. House of Representatives
    Washington, D.C. 20515
  • Sign the Petition
  • Send a Fax
    If you would like to send a fax, call your Senators’ or Representative’s offices (through the Capitol switchboard) and ask for their fax numbers (you can use either the attached sample letter or the message box, below).
  • Send an E-Mail
    Tell Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi to increase funding for the Gulf Coast.

    To send an e-mail to your Senators, simply go to www.senate.gov, and click on “Contacting the Senate”; you can look your Senators up either alphabetically or by state.

    To send an e-mail to your Representative, go to www.house.gov, and click on “Write Your Representative.” This will help you identify who your congressman is and how to contact him/her.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Interracial relationships debate - Had Enough?

I just finished reading a post from my blogging partner Angry Independent regarding Interracial Relationships and how it's still threatening to some. (I guess he thinks I'm threatened by interracial relationships)

More HERE

Live and Let Die contains many elements of blaxploitation which have been reversed to accommodate its white protagonist. Blaxploitation often had its black characters sleep with white women. More Here

AAPP: UPDATE: Well, now the snowflakers, and those who need to be politically correct, are bringing out the snow flake attack dog, to make this blogger feel bad because - get this, a Gallup poll says black folks and white folks are loving each other more. These folks are going Blaxploitation 21st Century Internet Style!

These folks who are begging for acceptance for thier need to be snowflakers, and want me to "fall in line" and give a "politically correct" response. To be honest - I don't give a crap.

I say, let them stay in the Disney World of make believe.

Forget the gallup polls of middle-to-upper middle class black folk who say they are ok with the snowflakers loving each other, who give a rats a**?

I'm going with my sample of 1 - Me.

I don't conduct my life or feelings based on some white organizations gallup poll. Those who do are stupid.

For those who don't like my opinion on this issue - I say "Go read a Gallup Poll."

Soon I'll be asked to read Halima Sal-Anderson book, Everything you need to know about interracial relationships. Where she writes, "As a black woman, let's just say I consider dating a white guy. My big questions would be…"

  • Would it essentially change me as a black woman?
  • Can this kind of relationship really bring me satisfaction?
  • How will others interpret my actions?
  • How do I reconcile this with what I believe black womanhood is about?

Black women can grow up believing that their relationships should and can only be with black men. However, when they ponder the interracial dating issue, these are some of the questions they ask; questions to which they often do not find clear answers.

AAPP: Hello! Bingo! Maybe I will read the book!

I bet you most "old school black folks" don't need a gallup poll or Halima Sal-Anderson's book regarding the issue of black woman or men and dating of others.

As an example I had the opportunity to read an interview Maya Angelou who was asked:

What do you say to young black women who see black men dying in the streets, getting involved with drugs, going to jail? Sometimes they get discouraged and start looking towards other men of different races if they see their brothers going in the wrong direction.

Maya Angelou: Well, I would encourage you first to do all you can for your brothers, always. Because every black woman has a black father, black grandfather, probably some black brothers, black nephews, black uncles, and maybe some just good black friends and, if lucky, some black lovers. I would encourage you to have the courage to call a person aside and try to put your hand on him, someone whom you know, and say, "You know, I care about you, and I'm not the only one. You know, if we lose you, we may lose our hold on life." Speak to him. Speak to her. Do your best.

Now, there is this. It is very difficult to maintain a love affair, even if you live next-door to somebody and his parents and your parents know each other forever and went to the same church, and even went to the same school. It's very hard for adults to maintain respect and romance so that a love affair can be sustained over years. If you happen to fall in love with someone in another race, it's more difficult, because you have to translate yourself. I mean, you can't say, "Um-um-um!" because the person in the other race says, "Exactly what did you mean?" So there are things that make it a little more difficult. And of course, then, people in our race start to wonder, "Is she talking black and sleeping white?" and so forth. The only thing to remember is you must have the courage to love. Read full interview HERE

I agree with Maya Angelou! Why are some of our black bloggers " talkin' black" and eager to have our men and women sleep white. I just don't get it. But, hey, bloggers are just a mirror of American society, I guess this is just one social issue i just won't get. We are not a monolithic community, and we all heave the right to our own opinions. People sleep with whoever they want to and candidly, at this point in life in America, who cares....

AAPP: I'm really taking time off - Had enough of the interracial relationships debate? I have - So leave me alone with all of your maladjusted, I never fit in issues.

What is your opinion.? Join African American Opinion - Social Networking Blog

Other Interracial Discussion on the Net:

Black Female Interracial Marriage E-Zine: http://bfinterracialmarriage.blogspot.com/

Date a White Guy blog: http://dateawhiteguy.blogspot.com/

Black women's IR guide book: http://www.dateawhiteguybook.com/

Diary of a Tired Black Man film site: http://www.tiredblackman.com/

My feeble attempt to discuss Interracial Relationsips

"Jungle Fever", or just a slight temperature?






Sunday, August 26, 2007

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Join our new African American Community. Create your own Networking community.


Visit African American Opinion

Kenneth Foster

Brother Eddie Griffin in Texas sent us this email. This is posted on his blog at this link: PETITION FOR REPRIEVE OF EXECUTION.

If you want to help you can sign the petition here, call 512.584.1578 for more information, and/or to come to a rally in support of Kenneth. Tuesday, August 21, starting at 5pm, we will meet in front of the Capitol at 11th St. and Congress Ave., then march to the Governor’s mansion to make our voices heard: Stop the Execution of Kenneth Foster!

gse_multipart16675.jpg

The Case of KENNETH EUGENE FOSTER, JR.

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Executive Clemency Section
8610 Shoal Creek Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78757
Telephone: (512) 406-5852
Fax (512) 467-0945

Attn.: Rissie L. Owens, Jose Aliseda, Jr., Charles Aycock, Conrith Davis, Jackie DeNoyelles, Linda Garcia, Juanita M. Gonzalez

August 14, 2007

Dear Board Members:

We implore you to use your better sense of judgment and compassion and grant clemency to Kenneth Foster, Jr. before the scheduled execution of August 30, 2007. Despite his conviction by the courts and death sentence by a jury, Foster does not deserve to die.

A young 19-year old man becomes an unwitting accomplice of a horrible crime, not by direct participation, but by causal association with the wrong people, at the wrong time, in the wrong place. Should he be put to death for the crime of another?

Federal District Judge Royal Furgeson who overturned Foster’s death sentence in 2005 recognized, “There was no evidence before Foster’s sentencing jury which would have supported a finding that Foster either actually killed LaHood or that Foster intended to kill LaHood or another person.”

On June 29, 1972, in the case of Furman v. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that every state death penalty law in the U.S. was unconstitutional because the death penalty was being unfairly and arbitrarily assigned. When Texas rewrote its death penalty statute, the penalty was reserved for the most egregious cases of murder, and only then in commission with another crime.

But this has not halted state district attorneys from pushing the envelope. In the case of Foster, the prosecution pushed the limit of sensibility and social consciousness by stretching the “law of parties”. Any indirect party without foreknowledge of a crime can be help as culpable as the perpetrator by mere association. If this was the intent of the law, it would be grossly unfair and contrary to the Furman decision.

We bring this case to your attention for an urgent reprieve and a recall to our collective sensibility. It is just not right for one man to die for the crime of another.

Sincerely,
Eddie Griffin, human rights advocate, reprieved by Furman (1972)

Cc:
Governor Rick Perry
State Capitol
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711-2428
Telephone: 512-463-2000
Fax: (512) 463-1849
E-mail: www.governor.state.tx.us/contact

UPDATE:

If you are moved by the case of Kenneth Foster and can get to Austin, we encourage all justice-minded people to come to a rally in support of Kenneth. Tuesday, August 21, starting at 5pm, we will meet in front of the Capitol at 11th St. and Congress Ave., then march to the Governor’s mansion to make our voices heard: Stop the Execution of Kenneth Foster!

For more information, visit http://savekenneth.blogspot.com or call 512.584.1578.

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African American Pundit encourages you to contact your elected officials/representatives and share your thoughts on current events and government policy. All politics is local!

Below you'll find links to e-mail and postal addresses, and phone numbers for key elected officials.

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