The Headline Reads: Jena 6 teen's return to jail draws queries
Last Friday, I learned that Mychal Bell was back in jail (juvenile NOT adult) on charges unrelated to the Jena 6 case. I'm not in the lest bit surprised by this turn of events nor do I feel the efforts that many of us put into this case were wasted. See, for me, this case was never about the Jena 6 being model citizens or victims who were just defending themselves against racism. Nope, this was a serious battle against lopsided punishment! None of these young men should have been charged as adults and they definitely shouldn't have sat in a jail for as long as they did. Simply, this was a fight in school that should have been handled better than it was, BUT Mychal Bell should not be able to escape the fact that he violated his parole when he participated in that school fight.
When asked about Mychal Bell going back to Jail, in his infinite wisdom (heavy sarcasm), Al Sharpton was quoted with saying, "We feel this was a cruel and unusual punishment and is a revenge by this judge for the Jena Six movement." [Source] Come on Rev! Now, you seriously can't believe that mess? First off, Mychal is not a saint and it's no secret that he has had prior run-ins with the law (four previous offenses, including two counts of simple battery and two pertaining to criminal destruction of property that occurred before the beating of classmate Justin Barker) and he MUST be held accountable for those actions. We can't and shouldn't continue to allow our young men to commit crimes and blame it on racism/the white man. Life is about choices and there are consequences when you make wrong decisions. It's just that simple and THIS is what should be gained from Bell's return to jail. Saying that this is revenge is retarded because if you focus your mind on revenge, it only blinds you from the real lesson - cause and effect.
YET, I definitely would've hoped that District Judge J.P. Mauffray would have recognized that this young man has already spent nine months in jail and just maybe some of that time could have been taken into consideration. But I guess not and that's a hard pill to shallow, but that's our fucked up legal system. We just have to continue to keep our eyes on this case and ALL cases of injustice. Jena 6 was just the beginning and I am proud to have been a part of the unified efforts that were displayed by myself and all those that choose to lend their time, voice, money, blog posts, etc. to fighting injustice. We must continue to speak out. Though some may piss on online activism, it is activism no less and I can not stress it enough - THERE IS POWER IN BLOGGING. Check out what the Chicago Times reported last month...
As formidable as it is amorphous, this new African-American blogosphere, which scarcely even existed a year ago, now comprises hundreds of interlinked blogs and tens of the thousands of followers who within a matter of a few weeks collected 220,000 petition signatures—and more than $130,000 in donations for legal fees—in support of six black Jena teenagers who are being prosecuted on felony battery charges for beating a white student.
See, that's what I'm talking about! It is with this type of unity that the African-American community can build upon. Shoot, you can call me a wishful thinker, but eh, Dr. King had a dream too, you know?
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