The Jena 6 and other incidents of injustice

I’m sure everyone got inspired by Sunday’s event with The Family Stand.  But, as much as it was engaging and energizing to talk about the importance of excellence, how to move progressive culture forward, and to expose folks to the vast possibilities of the “new Black imagination,” it’s more important to ground all of that in some reality.  The reality is that we can’t get so caught up music and art that we ignore instances of injustice.  We have to take the inspiration provided by great music and art and turn that into action that will change things for the better.

Many of you know about the Jena 6.  These are six Louisiana African American high school students who got into a fight with some white students at their school and were charged with attempted murder. 

There’s a massive rally in Jena today, the civil rights community has organized buses to go down there to protest the harsh sentence.  There are also rallies in other cities, including New York City (Brooklyn). More on the case here and here, including information how you can support their defense.

There’s also the Dunbar Village case in West Palm Beach Florida, where a Black woman was raped and tortured for several hours by teenage gang members, who also tortured her 12 year old son.  As a final humiliation, the woman was forced to perform oral sex on her own son.  Despite the screams coming from her apartment for over three hours, no one in the housing complex came to their aid or called the police.

Gina McCauley, who almost single-handedly galvanized the blogosphere against BET’s “Hot Ghetto Mess”, has provided powerful commentary on this incident, particularly as they relate to what she calls “the war on Black women.”  I’m inclined to agree.

The point of all this is there’s a lot of work to be done to change hearts and minds, and to make our communities better and safer.  That, I think, will be the real value of this new Black imagination.

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