The case of six African-American youths charged with various crimes in Jena, Louisiana, following a “racial incident” at their predominantly white high school, has recently made headlines around the world. Now artists, activists, entertainers, and others plan to rally in the southern city on September 20, the sentencing date for one of the alleged criminals.
The Jena Six are a group of black students who were charged with attempted murder after a fight with a white student who had been taunting them with racial slurs. This student also supported other white students that hung three nooses from the high school’s "white tree," which sat in the front yard at their school (the school has since cut down the tree). The charges could lead to sentences of 20 to 100 years in prison, which civil rights advocates have decried as unfairly harsh.
In a statement from his publicist, hip-hop icon Mos Def is “asking African Americans of influence and concerned parties to join him in the fight against racial inequality and show solidarity for these young people, who are being treated very harshly by the law. The prosecution of these young men symbolizes a terrible miscarriage of justice, by punishing students opposing segregation in their schools and disregarding the threatening acts of others who advocate it.”
To sign the petition please go to “Jena 6 Petition.”