Rev. Otis Baker
“The reason I came to Jena is, I believe justice is the greatest healing source there is. I feel that the Jena 6 have been unjustly accused of something, and also I believe because they are children they ought to have a right to protest when they are being treated wrong.”
“I’m here first of all because my job sent me. Anytime an injustice is done we need to stand up for what is right. Maybe if someone had stood up for my mother over 50 years ago she would not have been put out of Mississippi. As a child, she sat at a patio and had ice cream. This was just outside of Belzoni, Miss. At that time, the coloreds (as we were called) had to go to the side and the whites were allowed to sit on the patio. A cousin dared my mother to get her ice cream and sit on the patio. Kids being kids, my mother sat on the patio. So the white people in the town came down to my grandmother and great-grandmother and told her, ‘Oh you know you’re a good citizen but we don’t want no trouble, so you better send her from Mississippi.’ So that is how my mother (Betty Jones) came to Chicago. She told me about it. She was about eight or nine years of age when that happened. So my mother was Jena before Jena 6 came about.”
“I came to Jena because these black boys could be me. This could have happened in Chicago, New York or anywhere in America. It just so happened in Jena, and it started in its own way – over a tree. But the tree wasn’t the main issue. It’s the racism that is in our court systems that brings the gavel down extra hard upon young black men like myself.”
“I came to Jena to support not only the six but to work towards justice for all of our young people. I have grandchildren and one day will have great grandchildren, and I don’t want them to have to go through anything like this.”
“I’ve gone through this myself 40 years ago, and it is like dé jà vu. Racism and white supremacy is just as strong today as it was 100 years ago. I came down to support these young men who should not be in jail. There has been a serious injustice against them and they need to be freed. How can you bring charges against six young black youth and not do anything to the white youth who were involved as well? It’s wrong and that is why we are all here.
C. Jean Bennett
“All of this racist white supremacy is not going to be allowed to stay alive in the south any longer. We’re going to stand up and be seen. We will be heard, not only in the south but around the world.
Musette A. Henly
“I came to Jena today for my descendants, my grandson, my sons, my great grandson, so they would not have to suffer the injustice these young men have to suffer today.”