In fall of 2006, Black children had to take permission from the school to sit underneath a tree called the “white tree”. It was a tree culturally reserved for white students only at Jena High School. The school officials granted their request and the next day the White students hung three nooses on the tree. The sight of a noose was one of the ways Whites put Blacks in their place before segregation was abolished. It was a message that stated that Blacks should stay in their inferior places or be hung on a tree. This got the Black community of Jena upset and it let to multiple tensions and fights. In one of the fights, a White boy was seriously beaten, but attended a social event later that day. Now Six Black boys have being arrested and they want to charge one of the Black boys for attempted murder and the tennis shoe was the weapon. If convicted, he may spend up to 22 years behind bars.
All Americans who love freedom and justice must come together and define what form of freedom and justice they want from their city, county, state, and federal authorities. Injustice somewhere is injustice everywhere. A look at the root of the problem shows that the principal and officials of Jena High School are to be blamed for this incident. Why should they allow a place called the “white tree” in the twenty first century America? Is it not a shame that Black students have to take permission to sit under a tree in an American school ground? It could be possible that they went to take permission because they have been chased away from underneath the tree before or they knew the consequences of sitting there without official approval. After the three nooses where hung on the tree by White students to protest the presence of Blacks underneath their “white tree”, the principal did take the right action by making an attempt to expel the students, but was overruled by the school’s Superintendent Roy Breithaupt. The principal of Jena High School must be commended for doing his part in making America a civilized place to live in. Roy Breithaupt only recommended a three day suspension for what he considered an “adolescence prank”. He even got the District Attorney Reed Walters to come threaten the Black students and he promised them that he could ruin their lives with the stroke of a pen.
It is a shame that in American, a country trying to spread freedom and democracy around the world have certain citizens in their domain that are still not free because of the mere color of their skin. In some of the fights, Black students were attacked by Whites but were never punished. A white man during this period of tension in the community also tried to shoot some Black men at a convenient store with a loaded rifle, but the gun was wrestled away from him. The White man got fined for carrying a gun, but the Black man with the gun got arrest for felony theft. Are the police in Jena, Louisiana there to protect and serve all citizens or just the White people? So if a Black man takes a gun to protect his life, he becomes a criminal? Is he a criminal because he prevented a White man from shooting him to death or because he is alive with a White man’s gun? Something has to be done by every well meaning American to prevent this kind of mentality in our police force, courts, and all institutions.
Those living in or around Jena, Louisiana should go to the court house to protest at the hearing on September 20, 2007. Rev. Al Sharpton, Warren Valentine, and Michael Baisden will be organizing a rally by the court house. If the Hispanics and some illegal aliens could mobilize close to a hundred thousand in about twenty major American cities about their immigration status, Americans who believe in Freedom and fairness should be able to do the same in Jena, Louisiana. Please do whatever you can to make a change for our great country. Pick up the phone and call the Louisiana Governor, the congress person for Jena city district, and also call your media outlets and report the incident. Also mention the names of Superintendent Roy Breithaupt and District Attorney Reed Walters stating exactly what they did. Not all God-fearing Americans will make it to the court house, but we all can do a little through blog, e-mails, and telephones to make our great nation great for all. You may contact the Louisianan Governor: Kathleen Blanco, PO Box 94004, Baton Rouge, LA 70804 -9004. Phone: (225) 342-0991