Social injustice in Jena, LA touches McDaniel Black Student Union

By April Christina Curley

It seems as though nooses are the “in” thing, still in the 21st century. In the news, this week alone, there have been several reports of nooses being used to cause trouble and divide communities, some as close as UMCP. Most popularly is the Jena 6 case, which has been in the news for almost a year now, but recently gaining more attention as legal measures are now being taken.

A brief history of the case: in the small town of Jena, Louisiana, nooses were tied to a tree on the grounds of a public high school after several Black students decided to eat lunch under this tree where generally only White students sat. After this event, race-related fights and other issues occurred throughout the following weeks, ending with the unfair and racist incarceration of six young Black students from the high school.

Outrage has poured over the state of Louisiana and nationwide, from ethnicities of all kinds, all in support of freedom and justice for these six students. Thursday, September 20, marked the first day of court for one of the young men incarcerated where he was to receive his sentence after being charged as an adult for attempted murder of a White student, who apparently was beaten up badly; however, was well enough to party the same evening he was released from the hospital.

Supporters of the Jena 6 protested all day Thursday across the country, including here at Mc-Daniel College. The Black Student Union organized a prayer and moment of silence in Red Square at 8 a.m. on Thursday, wearing all Black to symbolize strength and unity. It is important for students on this campus to be aware of what is happening “in their own backyard.”

Next week, the BSU and a new student organization on campus, Illustrated Verse, plan on posting informational flyers about the Jena 6 and sending campus-wide emails explaining the significance of the situation at hand. If change can be made, education is the key in this process. If there are students who like to become more active, they can start by educating themselves and even coming out to BSU meetings on Sundays at 7 p.m. in the basement of McDaniel Hall.