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Vol. 71/No. 37      October 8, 2007

Jena 6 protests held across U.S.
Thousands who couldn’t make it on buses to join the protest in Jena, Louisiana, joined solidarity actions demanding justice for the Jena Six in cities and at campuses and churches across the country.

From Eugene, Oregon, to Calmar, Iowa, to Cocoa, Florida, more than 80 protest marches, candlelight vigils, rallies, and public meetings were organized across the United States on September 20 and in the days leading up to it. Hundreds of thousands more heeded the organizers’ call to wear black in solidarity.

A couple thousand turned out for an action in front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Rallies of more than 2,000 also took place in Cleveland and Baltimore.

“We’re out here to save some young people from injustice,” Dwayne Easy told the Militant at a rally of 500 in Newark, New Jersey. He was marching with a contingent of 30 members of the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1233.

High school students played a prominent role in a number of protests. Student walkouts were organized at a number of high schools including Arts High School in Newark and Locke High School in Los Angeles. At the Excel Academy in Chicago, students and teachers organized a huge “Free Jena 6” human formation on the school lawn, which was captured on film by news helicopters.

“I feel if they feel they have the power to take control, we can stop things like this,” Eugene Hazzard, a journalism teacher at Excel, told a local TV station.

Administrators at one Alabama high school made students take off T-shirts that supported the Jena Six. Another in Tennessee reportedly suspended students who wore black. At Hales Franciscan High School on Chicago’s South Side, students successfully petitioned to wear black instead of the school uniform.

Bus and van transportation to Jena and local protests actions were organized at many of the more than 100 historically Black colleges and universities in the United States. In New York protests were held at several city and state colleges, including in Albany, at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, and on Long Island at Hofstra and Stony Brook universities.

Sara Lobman in Newark and Nancy Boyasko in New York contributed to this article.
Related articles:
‘Justice for Jena 6!’
Demand thousands at Louisiana rally
YS joins other fighters for justice for Jena 6
Chicago ‘Militant’ supporters respond to racist vandalism
Jena 6 solidarity actions across U.S. (chart)  
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