NAACP Coordinates Activities around Jena Sentencing on Sept. 20

September 10 , 2007

The NAACP is working with numerous groups, individuals, local, state and federal officials to coordinate demonstration activities related to Mychal Bell’s sentencing in two weeks. A march, rally and town hall meeting are being planned for that day.   

Thousands are expected to converge on Jena, La. and the LaSalle Parish Courthouse Sept. 20 as defendant Mychal Bell is sentenced for his role in an altercation with a classmate following a series of racial incidents in the town of 3,000 after three nooses were hung in a tree at the local high school.

In the last year, Bell, 17, who remains incarcerated, and five others-- Robert Bailey Jr., 17; Theo Shaw, 17; Carwin Jones, 18; Bryant Purvis, 17; and a minor--faced overly aggressive prosecution, extended incarceration and are being charged with serious criminal conduct offenses that could lead to many years of imprisonment.

On Sept. 20, “March on Jena” participants are asked to convene at Ward 10 Recreation Park in Jena starting at 7 a.m. where instructions for the day will be given. Prayers will follow the 8:15 a.m. march to the courthouse before the judicial proceedings begin. Following the sentencing a support rally will be held at the park around 11 a.m. That evening a town hall meeting focusing on education and criminal justice disparities in the U.S. will be held at 7 p.m. in Alexandria, La.    

NAACP officials will present petitions to Louisiana Gov. Kathleen B. Blanco at Noon on Sept. 19 at the State Capitol. The thousands of signatures are a symbol of those across the nation that are concerned with the unequal treatment of the defendants and the disturbing climate that led to an escalation of events in the southern town. Individuals are urged to sign the petition found online at www.naacp.org up until that time.

The NAACP has gathered a team of pro bono attorneys to assist in Bell’s appeal and the defense of the remaining young men. Activity updates and information on contributing to the Jena 6 Legal Defense Fund can be found online at www.naacp.org or by calling toll free (888) 362-8683.   

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization.  Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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