On Friday June 26, 2009 it was reported that the cases of the other five members of the Jena Six was brought to a close. Now Mychal Bell, Jesse Ray Beard, Carwin Jones, Robert Bailey, Theo Shaw, and Bryant Purvis are all free.
The five members pleaded no contest to misdemeanor simple battery charges and will not serve jail time. But instead they were sentenced to seven days probation and fined $500 despite being originally charged with second degree attempted murder for a 2006 fight that led to the beating of white classmate Justin Barker at Jena High School.
We are all happy for these young men and their parents. But let's not think that every thing will be easy for them going forward because it certainly has not been for Mychal Bell's family.
Reflections on the unsung workers
I also must say something for the record. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan teaches us to do no favor seeking gain and that's what we strive to do. Some people may take what I am about to say as vanity but it is far from that. It is just an effort to speak truth as to the roles that The Final Call Newspaper, the Nation of Islam and the Millions More Movement played in that entire mobilization for the Jena Six.
Actual Fact #1: Once the story I wrote about the case was put on the cover of The Final Call Newspaper in July 2007, it brought enormous national and international attention to the plight of these young men. Here is the cover of that edition below dated July 24, 2007! Once it was on the cover of our paper then many of the national Black figures jumped on it. The Final Call broke it open across the globe.
Here is the original story: http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/article_3753.shtml
Actual Fact #2: It was the Nation of Islam, the Millions More Movement, the New Black Panther Party, the Color of Change, the ACLU and others that joined the families in what was the largest rally ever in Jena at that time on July 31, 2007. Need proof? Here is the original story:
Actual Fact #3: It was at the conclusion of that first rally on July 31st that the families and the organizations on sight decided to host the historic Sept. 20 rally NOT those who came along later to take the credit. The Millions More Movement was hosting weekly conference calls with hundreds of people across the country long before others started pushing it.
Actual Fact #4: CNN Analyst Roland Martin credited The Final Call on CNN news with breaking open the story before others jumped on board to help and had me on his WVON show almost every week as a guest leading up to the Sept. 20 rally. He even gave us credit when I was on the same segment as Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton.
Actual Fact #5: The first speaker on the morning of the Sept. 20 rally was Deric Muhammad and he spoke for over four hours to the crowd before any other leader showed up on the scene. Clips were shown on major networks. But he was putting in work long before that rally. Here he is pictured with five of the boys at a townhall meeting in Jena on Aug 14, 2007.
Actual Fact #6: It was NOI Pittsburgh student minister and hip-hop artist Jasiri X who came out with the song "Free the Jena Six" which resonated through the hip hop world. The song was even featured on Allhiphop.com. His lyrics got major airplay and brought even more attention to the case amongst hip-hop community and the world.
There is much more I could say. Again this was not an exercise in vanity but I had to share this with my readers. I can't leave it up to nobody else to tell our story.
This is for the record...The Final Call Newspaper which is published by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan brought this case before the world and his followers were on deck from the beginning.
People always work to exclude us from documentation but that day is over. Give credit where credit is due.
More To Come on the roles of The Final Call, the Nation of Islam, and the Millions More Movement in this historic case.