Day of Action for the Jena 6
Have You Seen Nailah Franklin?

After the Jena 6 March: Now what?

Today is the day after the big protest in Jena, Louisiana. Now, what happens? When will Mychal Bell be released? What happens to the people of Jena? Surely, these incidents, considered blown out of proportion, have affected residents forever.

Prayerfully, the U.S. Department of Justice will investigate this situation. There is something very wrong when the DA threatens students by telling them he can ruin their lives. How is it that Jena residents see no problem with that? It is mind-boggling.

Everyone in Jena needs to check themselves. It is a racist town. Is every white person in the town racist? Probably not but when a student at a public school feels as though he must ask permission to sit under a tree considered to be the "white tree", that's evidence of a racist environment.

When nooses are hung on that tree and principal's decision to suspend the white students is overturned, that's a racist environment. It's important to note that those students received a three-day indoor suspension according to CNN. Indoor suspension means they came to school every day but not allowed to attend their regular classes.

Justin Barker was attacked by black students but Robert Bailey was attacked by whites two days before the attack on Barker. Barker attended an activity hours after the attack so how severely could he have been beaten? Two wrongs don't make a right but sometimes you just get tired of being sick and tired.

The black teens were subjected to guns drawn on them and whites not being punished. How can that be justified?

After these incidents, the parents of some of the Jena 6 allowed their sons to play in the championship football game for Jena High School. Why? What's the lesson there? The teens were not arrested until after they helped win the championship for the school. That's a shame; talk about misplaced priorities.

I've lived in a small Southern town so I understand the mindset. The white Jena residents actually believe they've done nothing wrong and this incident is blown out-of-proportion rather than seeing it as exposing the ugly truth.

There's a saying that "you can't fix what you don't face." All of the folks in Jena need a reality check and an honesty session. Jena needs to live what it professes because it's not happening now and it wasn't happening back in August 2006 when racism reached a boiling point.

I was so moved by the historical pilgrimage made by blacks and whites. Eyes must remain on Jena; let's not allow it to become the cause of the moment.

To the people of Jena, I pray for understanding, tolerance and respect in your town. You can overcome this if you truly open your hearts and minds.