Finally! The Jena 6 gets the kind of front page coverage it deserves.

Essence featured voices from yesterday’s protest, the New York Times said the protest echoed the Civil Rights Era. (I got the photo at the top of the page from this NY Times update). There have been major stories in MTV News and USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times.

Oh, and did any of you catch this week’s Drudge Report’s screaming headline where Jesse Jackson accused Barack Obama of “acting like he’s white” because of the Jena issue? It was also mentioned on Bossip.

This Washington Post blog gives a succinct rebuttal: “Today, the episode spilled onto the presidential campaign trail, as The State newspaper of Columbia, S.C. reported that Jesse Jackson had criticized Barack Obama for not speaking out more forcefully on the controversy. “If I were a candidate, I’d be all over Jena,” Jackson was quoted as saying. “Jena is a defining moment, just like Selma was a defining moment.” By not seizing on the issue more, Obama was “acting like he’s white,” the paper quoted Jackson as saying. Jackson, who endorsed Obama in March, today denied making that last comment, while The State stood by its reporting.

Obama’s campaign, meanwhile, noted that he had made a strong statement on the matter last week, when he called for the district attorney to drop the charges and said, “When nooses are being hung in high schools in the 21st century, it’s a tragedy. It shows that we still have a lot of work to do as a nation to heal our racial tensions.” “Outrage over an injustice like the Jena 6 isn’t a matter of black and white. It’s a matter of right and wrong. We should stand as one nation in opposition to this and any injustice. That’s why I’ve previously spoken out and demanded fairness in the Jena 6 case,” Obama said in a statement today. He also noted that his comments on the Jena 6 “were carefully thought out with input and support from one of my National Campaign Chairmen, U.S. Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.

Ooooh. Zing! I’d love to hear your views on this. Does The Rev. JJ have a point — should Obama have gone down to Jena? Or has Barack’s continual addressing of the issue been enough? And is it a low blow to bring up the fact that Jesse’s son is hitching a ride to Obamaville? Why can’t we all just get together and get along?
Some of my best blog buddies have been covering the story, including Racialicious, Concrete Loop, Crunk & Disorderly, and What About Our Daughters — which serves up a nice retort to Jesse Jackson’s “acting white” statement. Please visit What About Our Daughters for coverage of other very pressing stories within the black community, including the stomach-churning news out of Dunbar Village in West Palm Beach, and West Virginia. For the readers who have asked me to write about these stories, I will. I’m slowly working on something and it takes me a while to slog through the saddest stuff. And these stories just break my heart and make tears roll down my cheeks.

I want to add that the display of solidarity on this issue does my heart good. It’s wonderful to see so many of us coming together for positive change, commenting on an issue that matters more than Beyonce’s new hair color or Jay-Z’s new song or OJ’s latest debacle.

At first I felt hesitant to hope, but I feel the stirrings of a new phase, a new awakening of the Civil Rights movement. And this revolution won’t just be televised, it’ll be blogged and podcasted as well!

I’d posted this video before, but I’m gonna post it again. This song has been circling around my brain, and I like to end Fridays with a jam. Sing it, Dennis Brown!

Are you ready to stand up and fight the right revolution? Are you ready to fight it, just like soldiers? Many are called, few are chosen.” I love this song. And the beginning question is pertinent — do you know what it means to have a revolution? And what it takes to make a solution? For myself, the answer is no. But I’m willing and ready to learn.
PS: This issue is bringing all sorts of new commenters and readers to Afrobella. Hello, newbies! I understand that you’ve got a passionate opinion. I encourage you to read my Afrobella FAQ before launching into an expletive-laden rant, cause I delete that stuff. Speak your piece intelligently and eloquently, and let the discourse begin!

** Edited Saturday Sept 22 — I went to Jesse Jackson’s official website to find out his perspective on the Barack Obama comments he’s been accused of saying. I couldn’t find a direct refutal of the widely publicized statements, but I did find an encouraging official response, which reads as follows:

I reaffirm my commitment to vote for Sen. Barack Obama. He has remarkably transcended race. However the impact of Katrina and Jena makes America’s unresolved moral dilemma of race unavoidable. I think Jena is another defining moment for the issue of race and for the criminal justice system. This issue requires direct and bold leadership. I commend Sen. Obama for speaking out and demanding fairness on this critical issue. Any attempt to dilute my support for Sen. Obama will not succeed.”

So there you have it. If anyone has read an additional response by Jesse Jackson that you’d like to share regarding this, please leave a link to it in the comments.

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