Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Jena exposes viral racism and new era of hope

The news came on Democracy Now! radio today from Harlem. Buses loaded with supporters were preparing to go to Jena, Louisiana, to support the Jena 6. It has been nearly 40 years since similar buses of supporters headed to Louisiana and Mississippi. Who would have thought then, that there would be a need for those buses of support 40 years later.
There was also good news from British rocker David Bowie who donated $10,000 to the legal defense fund of the Jena 6.
Of course this trial is not just about white students claiming the domain beneath a schoolyard tree, or the nooses dangling there, or the fight. It is about oppression and racism, the kind that lives like a viral infection in the deep crevices of the United States, from the skinheads, Minutemen and Border Guardians in the West, to the Ku Klux Klan and racism that lives, festers and spreads like fungi in the Deep South, signaled by the waving of Confederate flags and the prejudices passed down through generations.
It is the kind of viral infection that needs strong medicine to heal, strong universal love and understanding, to heal.
It is the type of injustice that requires bold action by all people of goodwill to make things right again.
But there is hope. Rallies are being held all over the nation. On Thursday, tens of thousands of people are expected to protest in Jena, Louisiana, the small town where I spent one summer of my childhood.
It won't just be the South rising again, but it will be hope in America rising again.

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