Racist Group Marches in Jena on MLK Day | News | BET.com

Racist Group Marches in Jena on MLK Day | News | BET.com

Published February 11, 2008

Posted Jan. 21, 2008 – After whipping the town of Jena , La. , in a recent court battle, a White supremacist group is rubbing the city’s face in it by holding an anti-Martin Luther King Jr. Day march and rally there today.

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The Mississippi-based Nationalist Movement’s “pro-majority” rally is part of its “Jena Justice Day” festivities.

Jena officials ruled last month that the Nationalist Movement could not gather in town unless it posted a $10,000 bond. But the supremacist group argued that such a deposit was being imposed merely to discourage it from holding the rally, thus violating its members and supporters’ constitutional right to assemble. A judge agreed with the Nationalist Movement, and Jena was forced to lift the bond.

"We've taught them a lesson in constitution," said Richard Barrett, a spokesman for the movement. "Now we'll teach them a lesson in democracy."

Earlier, LaSalle Parish Sheriff Carl Smith, Sheriff-elect Scott Franklin, Mayor Murphy R. McMillin, Jena Police Chief Paul Smith and LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters issued a joint statement deploring the Nationalists and their supporters cancel the event.

"To anyone who is considering coming to Jena on Jan. 21 either to support the Nationalist Movement rally or to oppose it, we say, 'Please don't,' " the statement said. "The healing process is under way here. Causing more strife only hurts us all."

The Nationalists said that their gathering was prompted by the Sept. 20 rally in Jena, which drew tens of thousands of activists who converged on the tiny central Louisiana town of about 3,000 residents to protest what they perceived as unfair treatment of six Black teens accused of beating a White classmate. The teens initially were charged with attempted murder, prompting activists to call for the charges to be dropped. The charges later were reduced to battery.

On Sunday, the Rev. Al Sharpton, one of the organizers of the Sept. 20 rally, was back in Jena to speak at Antioch Baptist Church . A spokesman said that the New York-based activist preacher left immediately following the service and was back in Harlem this morning.

Obama’s making a serious run for the White House, yet White supremacists are still rallying in America . How far do you think race relations have come? Click "Discuss Now" to post your comment.

Written by BET-Staff


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