It has been a great day in Central Louisiana as almost 60,000 flowed into the tiny town of Jena, LA.
I’m still in awe in how the people from all parts of the country marched for justice. Can you believe Alaska was in the house? I really do believe that every state was represented in some form or fashion.
My day started at 3:30 a.m. when I got up to head to Jena, which is about 30 miles from Alexandria. My staff and I were among the first to be at the LaSalle Parish Courthhouse. We stood along the gates in front of the podium with an excellent view.
The day started out with prayers and speeches by members of the Nation of Islam. About 7:40, Al Sharpton and Michael Baidsen took the stage. Mychal Bell’s parents, Melissa Bell and Marcus Jones; Tina Jones, mother of Byrant Purvis; and John Jenkins, father of Carwin Jones, along with Purvis and Carwin Jones, mingled with the crowd and expressed their gratitude to the thousands of people who came out to support them.
National elected officials, civil rights leaders, and entertainers were on hand to express their outrage with the prosecution of the Jena Six, who are of accused of beating a white teenager, Justin Barker. Those attending the rallies in Alexandria and Jena were Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California, Congresswoman Shelia Jackson of Texas, and Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana, all members of the Congressial Black Caucus, promised to push for the U.S. Justice Department to come to Jena to investigate the handling of the case.
Entertainers included Tyler Perry, Frankie Beverly, who gave an impromptu concert, and Ice Cube showed up in support of the Jena Six.
I’m happy to say that there were no major incidents in Jena or Alexandria today. I know there were some concerns that my people would be tearing up the town but that didn’t happen. Thank God.
There’s so much to tell you and I have some photos that I’m trying to get together for you. Come back soon.