I’m torn over whether or not to attend the Sept. 20 rally in Jena that many believe will bring thousands upon thousands to the small LaSalle Parish town.
Using my journalistic wisdom, I earnestly believe that this rally will be the biggest event in Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The case, which involves six black boys accused of beating a white boy, Justine Barker, has gained international attention. That attention is the result of Tony Brown’s courageous reporting of the case on his morning talk show, “Eyes Open With Tony Brown.”
Now, almost a year after the tragic incident and the conviction of one of the boys, Mychal Bell, thousands have answered the clarion call to descend upon the LaSalle Parish Courthouse. People are expected to come from as far west as California to the rural town to support Bell in hopes that the sentencing judge shows favor to the teenager.
Here’s my dilemma. I’ve heard the rationale for people coming. Still, I’m not sure if a rally will make an impact on what will happen to Bell and the other young men. Sure, thousands and thousands of people coming from all parts of the world is a big enough impact in itself, but what will be the ultimate outcome.
Let me be honest and stop beating around the bush with you. I don’t have a good feeling about the day. Let’s be clear. Everybody who comes to Jena on Sept. 20 is not coming with the interest of the Jena 6 in mind. You can be sure that members of the Ku Klux Klan are bleaching their robes now. When you add other extremists groups, both black and white, to the mix, you won’t get a positive outcome.
Besides, the money that people will use to gas their vehicles and pay for bus drivers may be better needed and used to effectively defend the boys. Though some of the attorneys are working pro bono, there are still costs associated with the case that will have to be paid.
I’m almost 400 words into this column and I still haven’t made up my mind. What about you? Are you going to Jena on Sept. 20? Why? Why not? Leave your comments. Help me make sense of this? What would Jesus do?
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