By now, we should be three miles down the road past Jena, with contingency planning as to where do we go from here. The role of the vanguard is frontline strategic planning.
There are two roads ahead from Jena:
Either Mychal Bell will be set free or we will be force to escalate to stage 2- the legal battle ahead and defense fund-raising. Then, on the other hand, we must weigh the punitive consequences upon the State of Louisiana, for the loss of good will and fairness under the law.
The public response to the Jena 6 has been nothing less than overwhelming. The planned September 20 demonstration has magnified the issue: Racism and the misuse and abuse of legal powers for the purpose of malicious prosecution.
Many African-American parents are concerned about how their children will be treated in similar circumstances. Therefore, we have exceeded the bounds of Jena, Louisiana to look at the greater issue of why black boys are punished more frequently and more harshly than their peers, both in school and in the courtroom.
Of all the people who are going to Jena, there is one authentic voice of this movement. Mos Def has it all, including the real history of the struggle. He also has a profound passion in his advocacy that might bring America back to its collective sanity, without compromising the voice of black people everywhere. We must hear more of what Mos Def has to say. In fact, Mos Def would be the man that I would chose to speak about this outcry. He will not hee-haw with words.
Also, what some people may not see will be the thousands upon thousands of people who will be wearing black. They will be wearing black, not only in solidarity with the six African-American youth, but in mourning all of our forefathers who were lynched in American history. Forever lives the memory of Emmit Till, lynched at age 14.
Everybody in Texas will be wearing black. It is the biggest non-kept secret in my home state. We will mourn to loss of every black children lynched by the legal system, including Genarlow Wilson and SheQuanda Cotton. And even better, we will have no need to debate the flak behind the Jena 6 Movement. For the first time in over 40 years, we have a viable movement for social justice.
Here in Texas, the dominoes of injustice are falling. Another man, condemned under the law of parties like Kenneth Foster, Jr., was spared execution by the intervention of the new Dallas black district attorney, Craig Watkins, who has also initiated an innocence project that resulted in the release of over 25 innocent men. Runaway justice runs amok in Texas and Louisiana, and Georgia.
The Jena 6 are about the same age as the young Black Panthers were when they first came together to defend the community against racist attacks. Herman Bell, one of the NY 3 (otherwise known as the Black Liberation Army) went to prison over 30 years ago in the COINTELPRO Wars against the Panthers and remains in prison today, almost forgotten. He, too, is a political prisoner and one of my best friends, the same as the Jena Six are a new breed of political prisoners.
They did what they thought they had to do, in order to preserve their dignity and gain some respect. God forbid, they can receive 20 years or more for a schoolyard fight.
Will we fight for them forever? Then how did we forget about Herman Bell who, after all these years of incarceration, is now going to be tried all over again in a different state, just to prolong his incarceration. Thanks to Mos Def, he reminded me of Bell’s current status.