Solidarity vigils across the US

Posted by Lydia Bean

Apparently, all the cell phones in Jena aren’t working right now, so we can’t get an update from our Friends of Justice representatives at the protest in Jena! So until we hear from them, let me share some news about the solidarity vigils in other parts of the country. If you go to the “Reach Out” page on our website and post your reflections on your local vigil, I’ll compile them and post them to the blog.

Here’s my report from Boston, MA: I helped organize a solidarity vigil in Cambridge with two other young women, Gretchen Segars and Manikka Bowman. It was such a blessing to be there, and to meet so many people who are passionate about justice for all our nation’s youth. People came from all different ages and walks of life. There was a group of folks from Harvard University, and even a few people who were involved with the union struggle there this year. I was so pleased to meet a young group of college students from Brandeis, who had come all the way out here on the train to be at this vigil. I met seasoned activists who taught us old protest songs, and I met young people who were stepping up for the first time to protest injustice.

We started in Harvard Square, and marched up to the Cambridge City Hall. To the embarassment of the under-20 crowd, we sang several thousand verses of “This little light of mine”. Then–to their relief–we stopped singing and chanted a chant that we made on the spot, “Just Say No…to the New Jim Crow!” As we walked down Massachusetts Avenue, we got a few strange looks from passersby. But then other people started cheering out of their cars, and some cars even laid on their horns as they passed by to show support!

As we arrived in Cambridge City Hall, we met another group of folks waiting for us on the lawn, and we greeted each other with the chant “Free the Jena 6!” My co-organizer, Manikka Bowman, is a minister with the African Methodist Episcopal church, and she gave an opening prayer and read a passage from Martin Luther King Jr’s “Letter from Birmingham City Jail, 1963.” Then she led us in the song “Freedom Land.” Gretchen and I talked about why we were here, and we prayed some more. Two young men from Emerson College–one black, one white–were there covering our vigil for a journalism project, and when they interviewed me, I could tell that these events mean a lot to them. As we left, there was a sense of hope in the crowd. I really believe that we’re building a new civil rights movement right now, to finish what we started and make our criminal justice system work for all Americans.

Here are some pictures from the march:






Bashful Brandeis students… 😉

One more thing: here are some comments that were posted on the Friends of Justice website last night. I want to repost them here because they give you a sense of what Jena means to people all over the country. Please keep the comments coming!

Angela Y. Millon says:

I was not able to attend this rally, but would like to know if another one is planned or scheduled. I work in a warehouse with well over 1500 employees. Imagine my delight and surprise when I arrived at work and the majority of the people on site (all races) were in Black in support of the Jena 6. There was even a lady with a T-shirt her daughter made with Free The Jena 6, her car was even decorated in Black. It was so beautiful I couldn’t help but cry. I would love to attend a rally with my 18 year old daughter. Please let these young men know that they are the chosen ones. They have been chosen by our Father in Heaven to deliver a message to our people. We as a people need to stand up for and stand by one another. Our Father knows us, and He knows what it’s going to take to get and keep our attention. Life is not always easy and nothing happens by accident. Everything that happens is part of a divine plan by God. We must tell this story, talk about it, write about it, remember it and NEVER forget the disgust and betrayal of the Jena 6.

“The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you”

God Bless You All!!!

Thanks In Advance,

Angela Y. Millon

Autum N. says:

I am Twelve years old and I am very furious about the whole situation. I have made 9 petitions and wrote and sent a letter to the District Attorney. And where I live in Maryland they do not share any updates on the case! I have done many things to help out. My mom and I have sent $900.00 to the six boys parents. I am also Black and nobody has helped me out with this. On the news they are discussing all these little stories about non important stuff and they won’t even disscus this problem.I may attend to come out there in Jena, but I might not be able to take the Pre-SAT exam. And yes, I am only twelve,lol! But we all should show our respects and pray! On Fox 5 News they are going down to Jena and to talk about the story. But let’s all take this time to pray and have out good wishes to all! God Bless!!!

6 thoughts on “Solidarity vigils across the US

  1. You facts lean to the right just a bit…….the fact is there was no ‘school yard fight’. Micheal & his friends hit the Barker boy in the back of the head and continued to hit and kick him while he was unconscious. The reason Micheal Bell is still injail is because when this happen, he was already on probation for 4 previous charges that had happened in the past year and a half – 3 for assault and 1 criminal damage to property – IN HIS OWN NEIGHBORHOOD. This younge man is not a saint and these other 5 boys made a bad choose in following him. The truth is the Barker boy had nothing to do with the noose hanging. the reason this has gotten national attention is the misinformation out there…

  2. The JENA 6 Judicial Inequality in the Criminal System of Louisiana Courts IS NOT
    the only aspect of Louisiana JUDICIAL INJUSTICE. Louisiana INJUSTICE
    in CIVIL COURTS is out of hand. See>

    More than 4 years ago my failed marriage caused me to require judicial
    solutions, especially because I was fastly heading to financial ruin
    in New Orleans. However, I became educated about judicial corruption
    and reprisal for attempting to challenge political oppressive social
    conditions for myself and others. In addition to those things, I also
    discovered Louisiana White Collar REAL ESTATE and MORTGAGE FRAUD
    schemes. I am now an UNPROTECTED WHISTLEBLOWER, who is blacklisted
    (and displaced due to Katrina); and I have been trying to maintain my
    own litigation –as well as BLOG on my site about corruption and raise
    awareness about the things I feel strongly about to clear my name and
    hopefully reverse what all has happened to me. As you will see from
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    own benefit but a greater purpose than mine. ALSO, I repeatedly make
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    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    New Orleans Federal Agents: Who Will Be Their Next “Going Jacques Morial” Victim?

    Anatomy of Judicial Corruption>>> MOTION FOR REINSTATEMENT


    No One Should Be Required To Be A Law Abiding Citizen. . .

  3. This is not a civil rights issue. The White boy was beaten until he was unconscious and then he was beaten more by the Black males you are defending.

    You should be ashamed at what you are doing. It is absolutely disgusting.

  4. All I have to say is the punishment should fit the crime and wether or not these KIDS have a criminal past is not the issue. The reason things got out of hand is the original “prank” was dismissed as just that a prank. I’m sure it isn’t very funny to people who actually went through that and we all know what a hanging noose means. That is a death threat not a prank!

  5. Hello,

    I salute the initiative-Friends of Justice Project. I’m writing from Nairobi,Kenya, where post -election violence brought alot of injustice to the people majority of whom are children, women and the youth. All are vulnerable. They were either killed, maimed or displaced. At CYCA/ADDHU-Kenya, we have commissioned a porject to look into them. Its dubbed: Humainaian Aid Volunteer Corps. We will fight for the justice of the people suffering. The Corps will mostly be students and other professionals who will step forward and help the kids.

    I’m myself running an orphanage for kids orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS or abandoned by teenage mothers. Its called Centre For Ophaned Children Trust(CfOC Trust). Look forward to collaborating with you.

    Many thanks,

    Armstrong O’Brian Ongera, Jnr.
    Executive Director
    Capital Youth Caucus Association(CYCA)/CfOC Trust/ADDHU-Kenya
    P.O.Box 1609-00200
    tel. +254 20 212 9281
    cell: +254 720 594 503

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