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Mike hopes to see the world turned upside down through local communities banding together for social change, especially churches which have recognized the radical calling to be good news to the poor, to set free the prisoners and oppressed, and to become the social embodiment of the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven. He lives with the blessed memory of his wife, in Durham, NC, and has three adult children living in three different states. He also shares his life with the Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, the faculty and students of Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, NC, and the faithful fans of Duke and Baylor Basketball in his neighborhood.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Jena 6 Case Finally Over

When the Jena 6 were charged far out of proportion for their fighting which injured Justin Barker, it touched a tender nerve among those of us who long for an end to white supremacy. I first posted about the story over two years ago, having read the Chicago Tribune news story and the earlier work by Alan Bean, director of Friends of Justice (If you don't know Alan's blog, you should check it out.)

All over the news and talk shows, self-righteous pundits were raging at Duke University and the Durham legal system for daring to believe and act on the charges brought against three young white men by a black woman. Tragically, in the Duke case, the charges turned out to be unsubstantiated. People pretended not to believe that this sort of thing ever happens in the good ol' US of A.

Yet the Jena case had been around almost a year before it got any attention. The DA in Jena said that the violent crime was "aggravated" because when the boy was kicked, it was with a sport shoe which he dared to call a deadly weapon. With no ability to meet bail, these boys were facing attempted murder charges even though the victim had not been hospitalized and attended a party the night of the fight. The story did not make sense.

Thanks to folks like Alan Bean, the news began to get out. In a few months, it became a major national issue. Now, years later, the case is coming to a conclusion. The boys who beat and kicked Justin Barker are paying restitution and fines. They have all served jail time. But they also have finished high school, and five of the six are now in college.

For more information, check out Alan Bean's post today.

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