Jena (In Pictures) - We were there.

Crossposted at Kos - Sam.

I can't sum up the events in Jena much better than MissLaura did, even though I was there. I'm still processing everything, and I'm overwhelmed by the experience - I'm a young man, and I can't remember my generation experiencing a civil rights flashpoint such as this (I was in fifth grade when OJ was acquitted, and in light of recent events, that's something I'd rather stay away from).

But I digress. Here are the photos I took while I marched in Jena. They tell an interesting story ... and I'll start with this one:

At the High school

This is about one seventh of the crowd at the High School at about 11:00 AM CDT. This isn't counting the groups that were marching to the high school, marching from the high school, still on the buses, at the La Salle Parish Courthouse, at the BBQ on East Oak Street, or stuck somewhere else in town. I believe that the estimates of "over 10,000" or "about 20,000" are low. In so many ways, this was bigger than those numbers.

Gathering at Jena Elementary
Our bus from Davidson, NC arrives at Jena Elementary

Our group consisted of mostly college students, and after 13 hours on the bus, we were ready to walk ... anywhere. For those who are really interested, here is a map of our walk.

Walking to the center of town
Walking up and down the hills into town. Those police were brought in from a neighboring parish.

Congregating at the old Wal*Mart
Our numbers grew as we passed an old Wal-Mart. Groups parked almost everywhere along US-84 as most of the businesses were closed.

Traffic Lights are off
Traffic lights were useless, and mostly flashed yellow. As a side note, the protest was completely peaceful from what we saw, but the Floor Store in the left side of this photo had a broken window when I passed it on the way out of town. Nothing indicated it was anything but an accident.

Davidson Walks together
In the center of town.

It was a little over a kilometer from the Elementary to the center of town, and from there it was another kilometer to the high school. The media was out in full force, catching every step. Frankly, I was surprised that no POTUS candidates showed up.

News trucks, more news trucks, and a chopper
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a chopper. I counted at least 5 with different types of livery.

In the center of town
First responders were prepared as well, and the Red Cross was handing out water on the other side of the Courthouse

Walking from the town to the High School
One of many groups we walked with on the way from the center of town to the High School. Photo taken on the east side of the Courthouse.

A crowd turns the corner
Turning the corner

There were only 20,000 People?
Seriously, there were only 10,000-20,000 people? Look at the map, see how many people were on this small a portion of the route, and tell me there were that few ;-)

The protest wasn't really organized, as you may have heard. People visited Jena High School, and spoke at where the infamous tree used to be, and Revs. Jackson and Sharpton spoke at the courthouse, but there was no organized protest ... and yet, most people stayed on message, almost everyone wore black, the rally didn't stray much from the topic of Justice for the Jena 6, and participants steadfastly boycotted open businesses. While I had misgivings about the boycott, and while residents were very unhappy with the protesters, I was pleasantly surprised by the focus of those assembled (I didn't see any of the "Free Mumia" signs I got used to seeing at protests during the lead up to the Iraq Occupation). Below are two people who strayed a little bit:

Somoene was passing out these stickers
The sticker reads "Impeach Bush for War Crimes."

Meeting up with the Charlotte group
Yes, I'm the idiot who forgot my black shirt ... and none of the ones they were selling on the street were 3XL.

Nothing prepared me for the scene once we got to the high school. There were all kinds of speakers, and all kinds of protesters. I found a marching band tower on the practice field to try and get shots.

At the High school

From my birthplace
Union workers from my birthplace (St. Louis, MO).

Where the infamous tree was
The crowd around the rally where the tree used to be

Power to the people
Fists of power replace nooses

The speakers at the high school were normal people stepping up to the occasion. Their point was that all important movements for social change started with young people. Amen to that; hopefully we changed young hearts in Jena by giving them a holiday from school, but perhaps that view is too jovial.

Walking from JHS to the LaSalle Courthouse
Quite a few people wanted to have their pictures taken with this sign

There were a lot of groups
If you've been looking at the pictures closely, you've seen church buses, college students, and the NAACP. Here is another group.

The energy really picked up when we made it back to the courthouse. Jesse Jackson called Jena a "biopsy" of the countrywide cancer of racism. I think it's important to note that a lot of the speakers were calling the event "Jena" while avoiding condemning the entire town. Many protesters took a different tack, with the aforementioned boycott and chants of "No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police." Unfortunately, the distinction wasn't always clear to onlookers ... so I can only hope that the main message, that unequal justice is unacceptable, was taken to heart even if it was mixed with vinegar.

The Scene at LaSalle Parish Courthouse
This and the following pictures show the scene at the La Salle Parish Courthouse.

The Scene at LaSalle Parish Courthouse

The Scene at LaSalle Parish Courthouse

The Scene at LaSalle Parish Courthouse

Rev. Jesse Jackson talking to the crowd
Jesse Jackson addresses the crowd.

I left the town not knowing what to feel. I talked to a man at the Subway about the boycott. The local businesses were asked to contribute to the legal defense fund; few if any did, so all of the open businesses I saw were surrounded by protesters. I told him it seemed like blackmail to me, but I wasn't going to argue, even if I had to use the bathroom. But I still feel like I did the right thing.

I talked to as many people as I could in between speeches, chants, and shutterbugging. Some people were very eloquent veterans of the civil rights movement, and told themselves, over and over, "never again." Some wore their feelings on the outside:

A Protester

That's what this comes down to; we either have equality in this country or we don't. I agree with Obama; we shouldn't have to have a national protest to stop this injustice. But Obama (and Clinton, Biden, Dodd, etc.) should have been there. More white Americans should have been there. I hate to be partisan about something as serious as this, but more Democrats should have been there (I proudly carried my North Carolina Democratic Party bag around all day). When we have Americans that feel like slaves yet again, then there is something wrong in America.

That's all I have at this point. Thanks for reading/looking.

UPDATE: A judge just denied bail for Mychal Bell. Bell has been jailed for 10 months, and his conviction has been overturned ... but he's still in (juvenile?) jail. For more, visit this diary.

Comments

Please help at Kos

I do want to show people what happened.

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Agreed.

Amazing post.

Thanks buddy

I am missing services on the holiest day of the year (for me) because I managed to lose my keys, but this whole situation makes me think that the whole country could use a day of fasting, meditation and asking for forgiveness from our fellow human beings.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

That's not a bad idea, BlueSouth.

This is actually a feast day for me, not a fasting day - celebrating the 2nd of 3 harvest holidays. But I just haven't felt in the spirit of celebration this year. Perhaps this why. Atonement might not be a bad idea.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

New York Times on Duke case

Meanwhile, regarding race relations (and keeping it closer to home, since this is BlueNC), the New York Times has reviewed Until Proven Innocent: "From the Scottsboro Boys to Clarence Gideon, some of the most memorable legal narratives have been tales of the wrongly accused. Now Until Proven Innocent, a new book about the false allegations of rape against three Duke lacrosse players, can join these galvanizing tales..." But has Durham really learned anything? One has to wonder when the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People endorses Durham's top homophobe and Nifong's moll Victoria Peterson for City Council last week! And the rest of Durham sits smilingly by, and then wonders why the civil suits are striking. -Joe Tynan (jtlooking@aol.com)

You?

A relative? Just trying to understand if you're polishing Duke's image as part of your job, your daddy's job . . . or perhaps you're just tarnishing a moderately interesting film.

Not me.

Nope. Not me. No relation. Never heard of him/them. You seem to think THAT would be the only reason I'd be interested in the Duke case? It's already number 38 in the nonfiction category on Amazon, so I guess there are many you'll have to hopefully guess are relatives of Duke employees. . And if you knew more about the case, you'd know publicizing it is not a great thing for Duke's image, with the cowardly Broadhead and the way the professors turned against their own students. Instead of getting mad at me, you should be angry about Nifong and his enablers, both police and civilians, that caused the event.

I don't give a damn about Duke's image

one way or the other. They have more than enough money to buy all the influence and reputation-polishing they want. And I'm not mad at you (not today anyway). I'm just trying to understand your motivation. It seems you have some personal interest. A publicist for the book? A friend of a friend of a friend?

Few people come around here and get all activated about this or that topic without having personal motives. And based on the tone of your earlier posts, it's hard to imagine you're all about spreading goodness and light.

So what is it? Why are you here?

A

By the way, I know as much about the case as I need to know to understand that it was totally fucked up. Enough wrongs were committed on all fronts to fill a month of Sundays. The players are certifiable assholes, but they didn't deserve to get railroaded. Nor do they deserve the kind of damages they're seeking.

Nifong is getting his due.

What are you getting?

Believe it or not, the

Believe it or not, the players are not certifiable assholes at all. I found that out, to my own surprise. I never made them into saints (I figured it was beside the point) but after reading the book I realize they really are better-than-average individuals, and their families most certainly are. (Though I know you have a prejudice against lacrosse players). That said, that's the reason for my interest in the case, and my constant reminder to those who read this blog (not the posters, but the lurkers) that what happened in that case could happen to any loved one. There's not a person who could read that book and not realize what an anti-white racist hateful dysfunctional corrupt dump Durham is (with a number of honest and moral citizens, too, though) that needs a good cleaning up. All this talk about Jena is just a distraction: a feel-good chance to look at another state instead of cleaning one's own N.C. backyard. So.....just one question Anglico: what do you think of the Peterson endorsement? The homophobe who screamed "Burn it down!" to the New Black Panthers about the lax house? Is that civilized behavior? Do you have children?

I don't know anyone around here that condones the NBPP

Even the Huey P. Newton Foundation disowns them.

As for everything else you said ...

Pasta Carbonara

Ingredients:
1 Pound Applewood Bacon sliced thin
1/2 Pound Asiago Cheese
1/2 Heavy Cream
1/2 Pound Parmigiana Reggiano
4 Eggs
2 Pounds Spaghetti Pasta
Olive Oil

Directions:

1. Grate the cheese, and add it to a stirring pan.
2. Heat a pan up to medium, adding a small amount of olive oil. Tear the bacon into 1 sq inch bits and begin frying in the pan. At the same time, bring a slightly salted pot to a boil; add all of the pasta.
3. While the bacon and pasta is cooking, beat all four eggs into the cheese; add herbs and spices to your taste. Eggs and cheese should be well mixed. Add 1/2 cup of heavy cream and mix again.
4. When pasta is done, strain the pasta, and return it to the pot with the smallest amount of water at the bottom. The burner should be turned off.
5. Add the grease from the bacon to the pasta in the pot at the same time as the egg/cheese mixture. Two people should pour so that the substances meet. Mix the two with the pasta for a few seconds, then add the bacon.
6. Stir well; serves 5-6. Works well with fried cherry tomatoes.

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Joe, do you understand the word "irony"?

All this talk about Jena is just a distraction: a feel-good chance to look at another state instead of cleaning one's own N.C. backyard.

It never ceases to amaze me when someone from New York (or Boston, or Philly, etc.) latches onto one example of racism and/or injustice in the South and croons about how backwards we are. Especially when they have more than enough to worry about at home:

http://www.nyclu.org/node/1343

The New York City Charter mandates that the CCRB undertake “complete, thorough and impartial” investigations of police-misconduct complaints brought by civilians, and that these investigations are conducted in a manner in which both the public and the police have confidence.12 The CCRB fails to meet this standard. The agency investigates fewer than half of all complaints that it reviews, and it produces a finding on the merits in only three of ten complaints disposed of in any given year.

The CCRB has historically closed about 50 percent of police-misconduct complaints without initiating an investigation; between 2002 and 2005 the “truncation” rate increased to 55 percent. In 2006 the CCRB closed 60 percent of all complaints without undertaking an investigation.

The CCRB has conducted a full investigation in fewer than half of the complaints it has reviewed and disposed of. In 2002-2005 the CCRB closed only 42 percent of complaints with a full investigation.

Of complaints fully investigated by the CCRB, the agency has disposed of approximately one-third as unsubstantiated -- or inconclusive.

The CCRB has substantiated, on average, 5.2 percent of complaints closed -- far below the substantiation rates reported by civilian oversight agencies nationally.

The CCRB has done little to identify patterns of police misconduct and to recommend reforms in police practices that pose an undue risk of harm to civilians. The CCRB has failed to address effectively patterns of police misconduct related to racial profiling, the execution of “no-knock” warrants, and the policing of lawful public demonstrations.

Complaints filed with the CCRB have increased 65 percent between 2000 and
2005 -- from 4,251 complaints in 2000, to 6,796 filed in 2005. In 2006 civilians filed 7,669 complaints with the CCRB -- an increase of 13 percent relative to the number filed in the preceding year.

The number of allegations made in CCRB complaints has increased by more than 100 percent between 2000 and 2005 -- from 9,387 allegations made in 2000, to 19,041 in 2005. (A complainant may allege that a police officer or police officers engaged in more than one act of misconduct.)

Half of all complaints filed with the CCRB include an allegation of excessive force. The ratio of force complaints to total complaints has been consistent since the independent CCRB was established.

In 2006, however, the number of allegations of excessive force increased by 26.8 percent as compared with 2005 -- nearly double the increase in complaints filed.

The most frequently filed allegations involve serious abuse of authority -- improper stop, frisk or search; unauthorized entry or search of premises; threat of arrest; threat of force -- police actions that could provoke a confrontation between a police officer and a civilian.

The department takes no disciplinary action against almost 30 percent of police officers named in substantiated CCRB complaints. Between 2000 and 2005 the NYPD disposed of substantiated complaints against 2,462 police officers: 725 received no discipline. When discipline was imposed, it was little more than a slap on the wrist. Of the 1,607 police officers who were disciplined in this time period, 534 received instructions regarding the misconduct.

I wonder how many of your fellow New Yorkers end up in jail for "resisting" overly-aggressive cops?

The failure of the civilian oversight system has created grave risks to public safety and to individual liberty. In the name of law enforcement, police officers have inflicted serious physical, psychological and financial harm on many thousands of the city’s residents.

My emphasis.

City officials have been silent in the face of voluminous evidence that the civilian oversight system is failing. There has been an abdication of responsibility and effective leadership by the mayor, the police commissioner, the City Council and the appointed members of the CCRB.

What are you doing about this, Joe? Are you banging on the doors of City Hall? Do you even discuss this problem with your friends, or are you fine with the way NYC cops treat citizens?

And..?

P.S. Rather bizarre that you ask what I'm getting out of it. Why don't you ask those who left N.C. to visit Jena? What's the difference between my cause and theirs?

What's the difference?

The difference is that there hasn't been hundreds of years of codified prejudice against white lacrosse players from wealthy families. To my knowledge, there's not a history of violence preventing thousands of white lacrosse players from exercising their civil rights. To my knowledge, the ancestors of white lacrosse players were not bought and sold as property. To my knowledge, white lacrosse players never risked being lynched for simply looking at a woman of another race. To my knowledge white lacrosse players were never forced to sit at the back of a bus, drink from a separate water fountain, prevented from voting, or forced to go to an inferior, substandard school.

Do you see the difference? In Jena, there is evidence of hundreds of years of racial inequality before the law showing its ugly head. The Duke Lacrosse Case had racial elements, but it was not a case of racial inequality. Nice try,


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Also

None of the Jena kids will have six-figure incomes when this is over. Reede Seligman already has one.

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

And

None of the Duke Lacrosse players are still in jail, even if the case was thrown out.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Yeah, but Icloud..

It can also be argued that the black-on-black murder rate has like...what?...quadrupled since the Civil Rights movement? Or that white-on-black rape is virtually unheard of according to every law enforcement-related statistic. What does that have to do with the individual Duke lacrosse case showing the racism of blacks against whites? What does Jena have to do with that ferocious racism right IN North Carolina, and an undoubted corrupt police department? The irony here is that the Duke 3 and their Yankee lawyers will help poor Durham blacks when they enforce the changes, much more than the useless NC NAACP or any NC "Christian" skipping off to Louisiana to say, "Gee look at me. I'm just like a REAL Civil Rights marcher!" Clean up your own N.C. mess! Durham handed out the names and addresses of innocent peoples' families to every fanatic in the state, and espoused against them. Let's hear the "Christians" and Rights activists of NC apologize for that.

I'm not asking about the "cause"

I know some of the people who left NC to visit Jena. I know what they got out of it. You, on the other hand, seem unable to respond to any question with a straight answer. So pardon my skepticism, but your violin-laced story of profound interest in the plight of the poor boys at Duke sounds like total bullshit.

Anglico..

Whether it's violin-laced bullshit or 100 percent sincere is beside the point. Anybody that gets the full story of the Duke case by reading the book (and you don't have to buy it; wait til it hits the libraries), will agree that not only do those 3 guys deserve the money from the lawsuits legally, but also morally. ( And the other 30-something members of that team haven't even begun their lawsuits). It's a story of civilization and compassion against mean-spiritedness, lies, and barbarity. I know it's hard to handle, because it cements everyone's suspicions that blacks, clergymen, and women can sometimes be the villains in reality. But until you can at least answer the relevant questions, don't complain about the civil suits nor try to dismiss the whole thing as the media's obsession with rich white boys. It's like dismissing the only other important North Carolina story, the one from Kitty Hawk, as being simply the media's obssession with bicycle salesman from Ohio. (jtlooking@aol.com)

?

It's like dismissing the only other important North Carolina story

If you had been thought intelligent before, this is a great way to get ignored.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

That was a great piece

you did. I feel like I was there. Great information. riveting.

Thanks, Sam.

Terrific post. I'm glad you had the time and freedom to be there. There must have been quite an energy in the crowd. You said you had mixed feelings about the boycott of open businesses - why? What were your mixed feelings?

On a fashion note - the maroon shirt, not so bad. But dude. The plaid shorts. Dude.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

The outfit makes more sense in person, I swear

As for the boycott, it's not like Montgomery, where they are putting an economic stranglehold on the agent of racism. I can see why businesses wouldn't give the fund money when it feels like blackmail. And the businesses didn't seem rich. It's like denying foreign aid to a country because they have a bad government - you're punishing people when you have no idea what their level of responsibility is. And in this case, there aren't any practical concerns, like warlords stealing aid.

Maybe not a perfect comparison. But I didn't see any evidence of the Subway owners doing anything wrong, and I think that there are better ways to change minds. I abided by the boycott, but I didn't think it won us any friends.

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

That makes sense.

At least it seems like things stayed peaceful. With emotions running so high, I was worried that something ugly would erupt.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

I like the new jaw line

Duuuuuude.....the shorts, though.......(Katie wears them in blue :)

Great photos, great post. Nice job.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.