South Mississippians Travel To Jena - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

South Mississippians Travel To Jena

Thousands are expected in Jena, Louisiana Thursday for the sentencing of Mychal Bell. The black teen faces up to 15 years in jail for allegedly beating his fellow classmate Justin Barker, who is white. But some say the punishment doesn't fit the crime.

It started almost a year ago. That's when some black students in the town of Jena say they sat under what was known as the "whites only tree." The events after that day includes nooses being hung from a tree by white students, an unsolved arson, and then a fight which landed six black teens in jail.

That's why people all over the country are rallying together to stop what they call racial injustice in the town of Jena.

Rosalind Jones will be one of the protesters in Jena. While the Gulfport mother of three is nervous about the outcome of Thursday's sentencing, she says the anxiety is worth the fight.

"It's worth it for the children you don't have. It's worth it for my children and whoever may be watching their children too. Because anytime we allow injustices to happen, it will happen again," says Rosalind Jones.

South Mississippi business owner Rip Daniels agrees.

"There is a certain acknowledgement that there is inequity with justice," says Daniels.

Daniels has been following the case for months, but he says his reason for his trip may be a different from others.

"I want to ask people why are they there," says Daniels.

Daniels says some members of the media are doing what he calls grandstanding and forgetting about the end result.

"The only outcome in this has to be the dropping of the charges completely and absolutely," Daniels.

Whatever the outcome is for the sentencing of Mychal Bell, the town of Jena will never be the same and that's exactly what this mother wants.

"Because they are in a small community doesn't mean that no one isn't looking, everybody's looking."

Members of the Jena Six were initially charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the December 4th beating. But the charges against three of the teens were reduced.

by Elise Roberts

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