This is Me

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Friday, September 28, 2007

It All Started With A Tree

September 20 was a tense day for me. My sister was attending the rally in Jena, Louisiana and so were a number of friends. History has a tendency to repeat itself, and I didn't want the SWAT teams Jena requested to "keep the peace" to get trigger happy.

Jena closed schools and businesses that day. A judge threw out Mychael Bell's battery conviction before the rally, saying that he should never have been tried as an adult (he was 16 when the fight occurred).

In my opinion, they threw the charges out in hopes that we'd cancel the rally, but we came anyway. They expected 10,000 people. What they got was a movement reminiscent of the Civil Rights Marches in the 60s. People young and old from all over the United States marched for miles.

Although the reason we had to march was disheartening, the fact that thousands of us united for the greater good was so uplifting.

I'm a member of a nationwide listserve that has over 2000 members, all female, all black. People were sending out emails about the Jena 6 and the rally a week in advance.

"CNN has live feeds all day."

"Y'all pray for me! I'm on my way to Jena!"

"Mychal Bell's grandmother is being interviewed right now!"

If it weren't for this listserve, I may not have heard about the Jena 6. (That's why black people have to have their own media outlets because mainstream media won't give a story about US the time of day unless we PUSH for it and only AFTER we've already known about it for weeks.)

In support of them, we were asked to wear all black. So when people started coming to work and logging into their emails the day of the rally, the roll call started for those who couldn't make it to Jena.

"Who's wearing black today?"

"I'm wearing black and so is my husband!'

"I'm a teacher and my entire school is wearing black today!"

I, of course, also had on black. Black clothes, shoes, jewelry, and underwear!

Oh, yeah, you best believe I was going to support. It brought me to tears when I heard about all the people wearing black.

"I live in Chicago and all the black people in my office have on all black!"

"I'm in DC wearing all black!"

"I'm in New York and all the Black people on the subway this morning had on all black!"

Now that's what I'm talking about!

Members of the listserve who were there took pictures and posted them on their websites. Their pictures captured a feeling that the 5-minute story news stations reported didn't and couldn't capture.

Black people standing up for what's right. Black people united. Those who have "made it" may have gotten a little comfortable and forgotten about the every day racism some people still experience, but when the time comes for us to stand together, we will, and we do. Not all of us. But enough to make a difference.

As long as injustice is the norm, we can't give up.

The injustice started with a tree and it grew into a movement.


  • At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Dapper D said…

    Love your site. Thanks for the well wishes. Africa was great. I will be returning soon. Looking to live there for a few yrs.

    Keep up the great work,



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