Jena 6 MVDV4737

“I can destroy your life with the stroke of a pen” – District Attorney Reed Walters

Jena – A small town in Louisiana –  six families fought for the lives of their sons.

Two nooses were left as a warning to black students trying to integrate their playground, fights broke out across town, a white man pulled a shotgun on black students, someone burned down most of the school, and the DA put six black students on trial for attempted murder. The quiet town of Jena became the site of one of the largest civil rights demonstrations in the South since the 1960s.

Narrated by Mumia Abu Jamal.
The Jena 6 is the story of hidden racial inequality and violence becoming visible. It is a powerful symbol for, and example of, how racial justice works in America—where the lynching noose has been replaced by the DAʼs pen.
The Jena 6 brings the case home in numerous interviews, strong visuals and Abu Jamal’s riveting commentary. The film is a compelling chronicle
  • of how working African-American parents can be politicized, self-empowered by circumstance to struggle against injustice, exemplified especially in the person of Caseptla Bailey, Robert Bailey’s mom. Marcus Jones, father of Mychal, ends the film stressing that “the day he sets foot out of jail, I’m gonna tell him, I’m gonna tell him again: you know what it is to be black now. Here, here it is.”
  • of how to forge bonds of solidarity, local and beyond, as people come out of the silos of their isolation and oppression.
  • of concrete class struggle, as poor Black families, literally ‘from the other side of the tracks,’ living in a ghetto outside Jena’s municipal perimeter, fight to oppose bogus charges against their kids and the bourgeois power establishment in LaSalle Parish. It’s about racial justice, but at the core of that is class justice, the poor versus the privileged. Much has been written about this case, but not about the wealthy elite that actually runs the parish and much of central Louisiana.

The DVD is also a window into how working-class white folks in Jena, themselves are victims and products of the same System.

30 minutes on 1 disc / 2008


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Watch the trailer