Friday, July 6, 2007

The "Jena Six" saga:We've only begun to Fight!

16 Jul '07-0930 cst
.Mychal Bell is Lawyered Up! Attorney Louis G. Scott of Monroe,La., has put together a Legal team!
In the words of Dr. King; "We're on the Move Now", but "There's some difficult days ahead."jl
Apartheid Museum Nooses in Johannesburg in 2001
Jena Six Defense Committee
P.O. Box 2798
Jena, Louisiana 71342

This is the address to send money to help with the cost of attorneys fees for the Jena Six.
In a meeting of the NAACP last night in Jena, Louisiana the attorney who has enrolled in the “Jena Six” case, as legal counsel for Theo Shaw stated that he was already working the case, and that a fee for such a case would cost at least $20,000 dollars for this client. The Jena Six Defense Commitee, PO Box 2798, Jena, Louisiana 71342 has set up a fund to pay this cost for the attorneys. Theodore McCoy, Shaw’s father was there and a strong move is on to get Shaw out of jail. A special collection was taken up to defray bonding cost. The property is now up to $55,000 dollars. So, with what was taken up last night; $1500 dollars more would get Theo Shaw bonded. Send it to the Defense Committee, mark it for the bond.

As of tonight, Mychal Bell still doesn’t have an attorney. Attendees from Monroe, Louisiana said they would reach out to attorneys on their return to Monroe to secure pro bono help for Mychal Bell. In the mean time, Rev. Al Sharpton has said his organization the National Action Network would help with attorney fees and also seek to secure an attorney for Mychal Bell. Bell’s father, was on this Wednesday. After, the Black America Web story, a larger national community concern has evolved. I’d personally like to thank the Beans for their concerted work. A resolution was passed by the local NAACP to secure full support from the state & national NAACP. Branch President Caseptia Bailey, was on NPR Thursday. Her son Robert Bailey, Jr. is one of the “Jena Six” defendants, Attorney Sam Thomas of Tallulah, Louisiana is his attorney.

As for Mychal Bell, attorneys from as far way as Florida, and investigators in Hawaii have inquire about the case. Unless someone has called, Marcus Jones this morning, its 2:18am cdt, Bell still needs an attorney.

Forty years ago, Mychal Bell's conviction would have been automatic and the trial a mere formality. His lawyer, Blaine Williams, was comfortable with the jury's makeup, noting the difficulty in finding black jurors in LaSalle Parish. The population is only about 12 percent black.

The jury found Bell guilty Thursday of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit the same.

While one can hope that in 2007, such a verdict would be based on evidence and not on the defendant's color, it would do us well to remember what Atticus Finch told his children: “In our courts, when it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins.”

Shy and humble by most accounts, Harper Lee isn't likely to take credit for America's change toward fairness in our courts. Still, it is likely that some of the millions of people who've read her novel, seen the movie adaptation or attended a play have learned to judge based on facts and not on color.

While Atticus and other characters offer plenty of wisdom in Lee's novel, Scout may give the best assessment of why “To Kill a Mockingbird” remains an important part of America's culture, and why we have to keep trying to nullify race as a reason to help one and hurt another:

“I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks.”

Woodrow Wilkins is managing editor of the Delta Democrat Times. Mychal Bell is Lawyered Up! A team is in place! Records are being gathered at this very moment from LaSalle Parish Courthouse. 16 Jul 2007 10:39am cst jl