UPDATE: Theo Shaw, Jena 6 defendant, wins full-ride law school scholarship
It's truly a wonderful thing that Michael, Rev. Sharpton, Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey, et. al. got involved and galvanized this mass response. But I have to say it again, the story would have never been a story had it not been for Alan Bean, Executive Director of the civil rights group, The Friends of Justice breaking it to the Chicago Tribune and the BBC back in December of 2006 and the BBC making a documentary back in May of 2007. Here's the link to watch for yourself: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4120415818465787991.
And as you watch the documentary, you will hear that Oprah's "people" reached out to the local radio station BACK THEN (unless of course the DJ wasn't being truthful)! I guess it wasn't enough of a story then or, as it's now being spun by everybody – "She's doing a smart thing reaching out to Mychal Bell's family now." Even though she knew about it since May? C'mon Family!
I don't know about most of you but I am truly an "old-head." I remember when Oprah TOOK HER SHOW to Vidor, TX back in the early '90's to point out the racism there. She was an activist then, using her then, fairly new platform to show America its own shame (putting them on "blast" as Michael Baisden always says). You can think whatever you want about who did what when, but the facts are clear for those who really want them. True, this white man would NEVER have been able to galvanize the people the way that Black radio has and he admits it on his site: http://friendsofjustice.wordpress.com/ -- but Black radio did not even have the story when the Jena 6 was out there on their own looking for help back in December of 2006.
If we're to make a real difference, it's going to take ALL of the "Family" doing whatever each does best AND giving props to ALL the "Family" when it is due. No one group or person makes things happen and we've had lots of help in our struggle. Bayard Rustin, an openly gay Black man was an extremely integral part of the Civil Rights movement with Dr. King and A. Philip Randolph. And let's not forget the dedication and deaths of some white people, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman immediately come to mind. A "movement" is the sum of ALL of its parts. And if we don't get that, we'll continue to twist in the wind just like we have been all this time.
If all of US were on the same page believing the intent of integration was access and not necessarily assimilation, I'd say we could do it on our own. But we're not and we can't. So let's spread the accolades Family and build a real movement to bring about change. This huge mobilization already shows we're up to the challenge.
That being said I'd like to add, I disagree that this is a right or wrong issue. Hell, slavery was wrong. Jim Crow was wrong. Lynching was wrong. But that didn't stop it from happening to us. It happened to us because the founders of this country thought it was right! And plenty of people in this country still do, hence the Jena 6 farce, the horrific torture of Megan Williams in W. Virginia, the Haitians in Miami, Genarlo Wilson, the slow and painful death of inner-city public schools, redlining, gentrification, etc., etc., etc. As a Black woman in America, I certainly believe this is a Black and White issue and it is one, deeply rooted in the hearts and minds of the descendants of many whose people brought ours to this country and the hearts and minds of the descendants of many who were brought.
Maybe if people would just acknowledge that truth we'd have been able to make some real change in America.