CSUN’s Black Student Union (BSU) held an awareness forum Thursday to help spread the word to fellow students in support and awareness of the six black students in Jena, La., known as the “Jena Six,” who have been indicted with what many consider unfair racially motivated charges.
Last fall, two black high school students sat underneath a “whites only tree.” The next day, the students found nooses placed in the tree, causing black students to protest by refusing to stop sitting under the tree. Racial tension increased, and within the next few months, students began to fight one another. It was then that six black students beat up a white student. A flier from the BSU shows that the so-called “Jena 6” students were charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Many rallied in defense of these students, insisting that the charges brought upon the “Jena Six” didn’t fit with the crime.
The BSU has been distributing fliers and circulating a petition in support of the “Jena Six.” Their goal is to bring a consciousness to students on campus that racism is a still a national problem.
“Our goal is not to raise any tension here on campus. We as college intellects aspire to make ourselves better in hopes of a better world,” said Patrick Hogg, president of the Black Student Union. “We should not only be aware of this situation, but we should do our part to best assure that this situation won’t happen again.”
Across the nation, thousands of students rallied in Jena to support of the release of the six black students, including Martin Luther King III, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton. The BSU teamed up with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity to organize events on campus that’ll create awareness for the Jena Six and shed light on contemporary race-oriented problems.
“We want to show people how racism is still prevalent even in 2007,” Hogg said. “If you overlook it one time, it’s going to happen again.”
Community Service Director for the BSU Kendra Robinson hopes that the forum won’t just shed light on race issues, but on any issue that creates injustice.
“We don’t want this to become a race issue. Something like this can happen to anyone anywhere, at anytime within the justice system,” Robinson said. “See what you can contribute to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
CSUN has 31.7 percent white, 11.2 percent Latino, and 8.2 percent Asian American and 8 percent African American students pursuing a college education, just to name few, the most recent profile on the campus Web site shows.
“One of the great things about CSUN is that it’s diverse, which is why I came here to get a closer feel of other cultures,” Hogg said. “Separation only comes from people being unaware of what’s around them.”
People or organizations that would like to make donations to the “Jena Six Legal Fund” can do so at the Pan African Studies department in Santa Susana Hall, Room 221.
The BSU is encouraging all students to read about the “Jena Six” in the hope of creating a consciousness of what’s going on.
“We want to get the word out to students to get out there,” said Blythe William, director of finance of the BSU. “Don’t wait for it to hit home.”
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