Conyers Plans to hold Hearing on Jena Six

21 09 2007

(H/T Gavel)

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Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, says he plans to hold hearings on the prosecution of the Jena Six. No date has been set yet.

(Washington, DC)- Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) told a crowd gathered on the Capitol grounds that he is holding a forum next week and plans to hold hearings to address the case of six teenagers in Jena, Louisiana who were charged with attempted murder for a schoolyard fight. Conyers spoke during a rally of support for the students, now being called the “Jena Six,” in Washington, in coordination with rallies in Jena and other U.S. cities.

“I want to hold a forum next week and hearings at some point in the Judiciary Committee on this issue because in 2007, there should not even be allegations of unequal justice based on race or any other factors,” Conyers said. “This case brings to light what could be a national trend and the Judiciary Committee should explore that.”
Conyers will hold a forum next week during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference on Friday, September 28 at 3 p.m. in room 209C of the Washington Convention Center. It will feature Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Harvard professor Dr. Charles Ogletree, a family member of one of the Jena Six students, Louisiana ACLU representatives and others. The Judiciary Committee hearing has not yet been set.

“We’ve reached a point in history where this kind of situation is no longer tolerable,” Conyers added. “I commend everyone across the country for participating in rallies, sending your support and letting these students and the rest of the country know that we will not stand for this type of injustice.”

The Jena six case is the tragic result of a series of racial incidents that divided the small community of Jena, Louisiana. The controversy dates back to August 2006 when Black students at Jena High School attempted to sit under a tree where white students socialized exclusively and the following day, three white students hung nooses from the tree. A series of racially charged episodes involving off-campus violence followed the noose incident including a fight in which a white student would be injured and sent to the hospital. Five of the Black teens involved in the fight – Mychal Bell, Robert Bailey, Jr., Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis, and Theo Shaw were originally charged as adults with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The sixth teen will be tried as a juvenile and faces undisclosed charges.

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