Get involved in New York City! Free the Jena 6!
Fire Prosecutor Reed Walters! Drop all the charges!
ANSWER Activist Meeting
Call 212-694-8720 for more information.
This is part of the broader national movement to build the movement in the streets to free the Jena Six. Volunteer and help free the Jena 6! Call us at 212-694-8720 to arrange a time for you to join one of the daily petitioning teams.
Background to the Jena 6 case
On Sept. 20, more than 50,000 people filled the streets of Jena, Louisiana. They came to denounce Jim Crow racism and the persecution of six Black youth known nationally as the "Jena 6." Jena has a population of a little over 2,800 people, 12 percent of whom are African American. The case began on Aug. 31, 2006, when a young Black student at the local high school sat under the "white tree," a massive tree that white students controlled on campus.
The next day, three nooses were hung from the tree in a blatant show of intimidation. Several Black youth defied the apartheid status-quo and again sat under the tree. Despite protests from African American parents, no real remedy was taken to address the noose hanging. The three white youth responsible were given an in school "suspension."
On the night of Nov. 30, 2006, a school building was burned down. The perpetrators were never identified. The next day, Robert Bailey, a Black student, was invited to an all-white party where he was attacked and beaten by a group of white youth. When the police came, they told Bailey and his friends to "get back to their side of town," according to Caseptla Bailey, Robert’s mother.
On Dec. 2, 2006, Bailey saw one of his attackers, Matt Windham in a convenience store. Windham pulled out a sawed-off shotgun. Bailey and others wrestled it away from him. Instead of the white student being charged, some of the Black youth were charged with theft of a weapon!
The escalating crisis culminated on Dec. 4 with what began as a shouting dispute between several Black youth and a white youth who had carried out the Dec. 1 attack on Bailey. Barker was making racist remarks and refused to stop. A fight broke out between Barker and the Black youth.
Although he suffered bruises, Barker attended a school dance that night. Yet the six youth -- Bryant Purvus, Carwin Jones, Jesse Ray Beard, Theo Shaw, Robert Bailey Jr., and Mychal Bell -- were soon charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and lesser charges.
Mychal Bell was initially convicted of attempted murder as an adult. He was 16 years of age at the time of the incident. Since the announcement of his conviction, a movement has exploded throughout the United States to demand freedom for the African American high school youth whose only crime was self-defense. Thanks to this growing movement, Mychal Bell’s adult conviction was overturned and he was released on bail. But all of the Jena Six still face aggravated battery charges that carry many years in prison.
It's time to start asking the question: why is La Salle district attorney J. Reed Walters allowed to remain on the job while he conducts his racist witch hunt against African American students? Walters has to go! Free the Jena 6!