by Jasiri X
Radio host Michael Baisden and Jasiri X
Now that the Jena 6 case has come to a close with the final 5 members pleading no contest to a misdemeanor
(remember the original charge was attempted murder) and having to serve no jail time, I have a few thoughts on the whole experience. First of all I am thankful this situation has come to a close for all of the families involved. I was introduced to some of the parents of the Jena 6 at the CR-10 conference in Oakland CA last year by brother Jesse Muhammad
, the writer from the Final Call Newspaper who introduced the injustices that were happening in Jena
to the entire world, and I could see the extreme pressure that they were still under. I pray they can move on and live productive lives away from the angry racial rhetoric and media scrutiny.
I am very proud the song I wrote helped to shed light on a tremendous injustice and mobilized people to take action. I have absolutely no regrets. In fact I can’t think of a better use of my time and talents than helping my brothers who were victims of a wicked and racist system. I was never bothered by any of the actions of the Jena 6 that some people found inappropriate. These were young men that were caught up in a very terrible predicament. They never claimed to be the next new revolutionaries. They never claimed perfection either. I can only imagine how I would act as a 18 year old from a very small town in Louisiana that gets to attend the BET awards and interact with all the entertainers I idolize on TV. Some of yall “grown folks” would loose your mind. ‘But yeah Jasiri one of them was flashing money on his MySpace!’
Have you seen what people put on MySpace? That was mild by comparison. Were they supposed to all of a sudden not be young teenagers? Did we think overnight they would turn into Malcolm X?
Nothing those young men did changed the fact that in Jena specifically and in America as a whole there are two different forms of justice for whites and non-whites. I wrote the song Free the Jena 6 to help expose these injustices. That why I stared the song of with:
Justice for Everybody Not African
Indians and Latin Kids
Lock em and pack em in
Crime pays so the DA will trap em in
It’s the new millennium slave trafficking
And I think this brings up a larger issue that many groups have begun to organize around which is the School to Prison Pipeline that has ensnared many of our children in this injustice system. It was the arrest of a 5 year old girl in Florida that prompted Harry Belafonte to start the Gathering for Justice an organization dedicated to ending child incarceration of which I’ve had blessing of being apart of.
The Jena 6 were able to avoid the long jail sentences that were meant for them when the LaSalle Parish District Attorney J. Reed Walters threatened to take away there lives with the stroke of a pen. This was do to all of those individuals and groups who brought this issue to the forefront. So thanks Brother Jesse and the Final Call Newspaper Brother Deric Muhammad of the Millions More Movement, Color of Change, and Reverend Al Sharpton. Thank you Michael Baisden for risking alienating your advertisers and audience by taking up this issue and for having the heart play my song (CNN chose not to use it for the Jena 6 special they did because it was to “controversial”).
Mychal Bell is finally putting his problems behind him and headed to college
Lastly I am very happy to see Mychal Bell is overcoming is difficulties and headed to college. I can’t image what it must have been like to walk in his shoes in prison and when he came out. I can’t image how it must have felt to become a symbol and be expected to be flawless when your as fallible as every other human being and then be almost forgotten. I pray that Almighty God bless the Jena 6 and their families. And I pray that we are able to see what we were able to accomplish with a unified effort.
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