21 September 2007
Jena 6 Plus 1: Now what?
Very heartening to see the demonstrations in Louisiana and across the country yesterday -- and particularly to see so many teens and young adults taking action (I half joked that even the homeboys on the corner switched to their BLACK XXX t-shirts yesterday). It does my old "Let's March on Washington!" butt good.
A couple of things I noted that I hope this action portends:
The influence of black radio (remember Spanish Language radio was credited with gathering el barrio together for their immigration rallies), blogs and e-mail blasts in getting the word out. Welcome, Civil Rights Movement, to the 21st Century!
(..and speaking of blogs: Where were the white liberal/progressive bloggers? Pam's House Blend Explains it all for you: they were as mired in Iraq as the President, apparently....)
The need (and desire) for newer, YOUNGER leadership. ( “Both Jesse Jackson and Reverend Al Sharpton are old, and we need new leaders to replace them.")
I also found it interesting, at least here, that some speakers brought up the subject of crime and violence against African-American men (and women). A topic very worthy of discussion and action. However, in this city, most of the crime is black-on-black, as opposed to the black vs white tensions Jena exposed. I agree that there is a relationship here: for example, questions surrounding the value we place on African-American lives vs the value placed on white lives, and finding ways to rectify the serious, systemic problems and disparities in the criminal justice system.
But stopping this town from living down to its nickname of "Bodymore, Murderland" is going to take more than just one day of wearing black. I look forward to our using the energy generated yesterday to deal with some of these matters locally all across the country.