Notes From Jena

tmpphpirrdrg.jpg(Ben Chanales is a grassroots organizer, relief worker and photographer who has followed the Jena 6 story on the ground in Louisiana. He was at the demonstation yesterday and wrote this report — JH)

I am sitting in a coffeeshop in Natchez, MS, trying to decide what to write about today’s demonstration in Jena, LA. The organizer in me wants to lead by reiterating the story that, if you’re reading this, you likely already know- six young men sent to jail on trumped up charges due to the racist actions of a few very stupid, very powerful men… but to me that’s not the most notable story of the day. Those young men certainly deserve justice and thanks in large part to the public attention that’s been focused on the town in the last few months, they may actually get it- but for me this day was the story of one of the largest public declarations of civil rights advocacy in recent memory, one where the whole thing went off without a hitch. No arrests, no hospitalizations, nothing but an entire town full of focused demonstrators who were successful in getting their message out. This day (more…)