Sep 20, 2007
They came, they went, they made their mark, they sparked discussion, they created a new Jena. She came, she went, she destroyed, she created a rebirth to a city in need of one. New Orleans and Jena will never be the same again – but they can both become better than they were before. Let’s face it, prior to Katrina, New Orleans was not without problems – there were plenty. Katrina was colorblind, she did not discriminate, she was an equal opportunity destroyer. Prior to the Jena 6 march and the media circus lead by opportunists who, for once I was happy to see doing something that helped out some children, there were problems in Jena.
What started as a question about a tree who was colorblind and willing to give its’ shade to all who sat, has surfaced for all to see as the nasty issue of racism. The issue is, that students felt they were not welcome under a tree of the very school they attended. In utter disgust, I heard callers on radio shows today, that had lots of, “Well the Reverends wouldn’t have cared if this was a reversed situation, if it was a white student or a Jewish student or a Hispanic student”. And the truth is – they wouldn’t have shown up and paraded around like peacocks with thousands of followers behind them. But I for one am glad that they did, and that the futures of some misguided “children” (and that is what they are) may have been positively changed.
New Orleans and Jena will never be the same again. Time can never be erased and events and feelings will be forever changed, for better or for worse in Louisiana. But we can learn from history and use the momentum of people with any kind of outrage to save ourselves as a state.
I think it will take some strong young people to show the world that things have changed and that Jena and New Orleans can and will move forward. Louisiana no longer needs outsiders to continue to fight its’ battles. I would hate to see this case or this state get any more negative publicity. These students will be offered money and will be tempted by the media to continue to drag this story out. My dream would be to see all those children from Jena sit together in a civil and public forum, discuss the situation, let the healing begin and for it to be over with. I would also like to see all the Jena visitors take their energy back home with them and make a difference in their own community. We need to prevent and recognize issues instead of only dealing with them when they are a public headline. Louisianans can rise from any problems or situations and show the world we are the model for peace and harmony that our soldiers are fighting for every day. Hooah Louisiana!
(c/p at NOLA.com)