ASU students take to Jena for protest -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

ASU students take to Jena for protest

September 19, 2007

Albany - - Thursday, there will be a huge gathering in a small town. Thousands of protestors, including some from here in South Georgia, will arrive in Jena, Louisiana. They're calling for justice in the case of the Jena 6, Black teenagers charged with serious crimes for fighting white students after growing racial tensions at their school.

More than 150 students at Albany State University are on a mission.

"Free Jena 6, free Jena 6" students yell out with signs in hand and prayer on their hearts, "Father God I just ask you on this trip that individuals' hearts might be turned back to you oh God."

They're bracing for 10 hours on the road.

"It's not a road trip, its for a good cause. Inside this bag, I have my change of clothes because were going to wear all black tomorrow to show our support," says Lajohanda Johnson.

Support for 6 black high school students arrested for beating up white students who hung nooses from a tree at the school. The white students were suspended, the black students, referred to as the Jena 6, were prosecuted.

For many of these students, this is more than a rally. It's somewhat of a civil rights movement, present-day, that involves them.

"We've all worked so hard to raise the money to get everything organized to go and its so beautiful to see everyone here ready to support this cause," says Michael Scott.

They will join thousands of others coming from all across the country in protest.

Businesses in the small town say they will be closed.

"We don't plan to spend any money in Jena. We don't plan to support them in any way. In fact, when we eat, it will probably be outside of Jena, not even in Louisiana," Scott says.

Instead, they'll spend their time and effort towards justice. 

"In my opinion, we've already succeeded in the ultimate goal which is unifying ourselves for one common goal, one common purpose," Scott said.

So many students wanted to attend the trip, Student Government leaders had to hold a raffle to select 150 students. They're taking three busses and will return immediately after the protest Thursday. 

Those ASU students and thousands of other demonstrators will rally in downtown Jena Thursday morning, then march to the high school where all the problems started.