On September 20th, I wore black. I wore black, as many Black people did, in solidarity with the Jena 6, who are quickly becoming the 21st century’s Scottsboro Boys. I am wearing black, even though I have the profound urge and desire to wear red, a Maoist, seductive, bold red – on this, the possible new dawn, of what Al Sharpton has begun calling the “Civil Rights Movement of the 21st Century.” I am wearing black, even as I have conflicting thoughts and emotions. I am eager for this moment of solidarity – a chance to acknowledge the injustice of inequitable sentencing. So, for today, it is my lipstick that is crimson.
But on Wednesday October 31, 2007 I will be wearing red; that uncomfortably womanish shade of scarlet that suggests a certain looseness, appreciation of blues, likelihood to walk the streets at night, willingness to be loud, dedication to self, and a deep refusal to be rendered invisible. Red, the color so many of us are told to avoid, because of its Western association, with the marked, fallen woman; red, that rich, rapturous, full, so-bright-it-looks-as-if-it’s-had-a-good-meal ruby color, red so intense, it’s nearly purple. Yes, that color – that’s the one I want to mark my outrage at the rape and torture of Megan Williams, a 20-year old woman in West Virginia; the sexual assault of a Haitian woman and her son in West Palm Beach, Florida; and the continued violence visited upon women of color.
Red is the color I choose, because I am not interested in being invisible. I am not interested in being forgotten. I am not interested in being a sidebar conversation. I am not interested, because I will be the womyn who walks into the room wearing the color red, who makes the conversation stop, and gently suggests another topic – the role of violence and abuse in women’s lives perhaps? I am interested in being seen. I am interested in hearing what communities of color, so recently outfitted in black to mark the injustice done to the Jena 6, will do to mark the violence and injustice done to Megan Williams.
For me, the color red is about boldness. It is a vibrant color that cannot be ignored. Beyond the pink of feminism, and even the purple of womanism, red is a color that says, “stop and see.” On October 31st, we ask women of color and their allies, to break the silence and invisibility surrounding violence against women of color, by choosing to be seen. By choosing to be vocal, to be brave, to be bold and work to stop violence against women.
Tuesday, July 10th, 2007
The Case of the Jena Six: Black High School Students Charged with Attempted Murder for Schoolyard Fight After Nooses Are Hung from Tree (from Democracy Now)
Six black students at Jena High School in Central Louisiana were arrested last December after a school fight in which a white student was beaten and suffered a concussion and multiple bruises. The six black students were charged with attempted murder and conspiracy. They face up to 100 years in prison without parole. The fight took place amid mounting racial tension after a black student sat under a tree in the schoolyard where only white students sat. The next day three nooses were hanging from the tree. [includes rush transcript]
Jena is a small town nestled deep in the heart of Central Louisiana. Until recently, you may well have never heard of it. But this rural town of less than 4,000 people has become a focal point in the debate around issues of race and justice in this country.Last December, six black students at Jena High School were arrested after a school fight in which a white student was beaten and suffered a concussion and multiple bruises. The six black students were charged with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy. They face up to 100 years in prison without parole. The Jena Six, as they have come to be known, range in age from 15 to 17 years old.Just over a week ago, an all-white jury took less than two days to convict 17 year-old Mychal Bell, the first of the Jena Six to go on trial. He was convicted of aggravated battery and conspiracy charges and now faces up to 22 years in prison.Black residents say that race has always been an issue in Jena, which is 85 percent white, and that the charges against the Jena Six are no exception.
The origins of the story can be traced back to early September when a black high school student requested permission to sit under a tree in the schoolyard where usually only white students sat. The next day three nooses were found hanging from the tree.
What do you think about this? In other words…what is the possibility of being black?
To sign a petition protesting these charges click here:
To join the color of change campaign against what they are calling “Jim Crow Justice” click here:
To see what people in the cyberworld are saying about this case..click here: