ULV students protest for
‘Jena 6’

Posted Oct. 5, 2007

Francine Gobert
Staff Writer

The last two weeks have been reminiscent of a time when many minorities were fighting for civil rights in a country they called home.

Nonviolent protest, rallies, sit-ins and freedom riders paved the way for equal societies in America.

As six African-American students from Jena, La., awaited their fate based on charges of conspiracy to attempt second-degree murder against a white student many people across the nation took notice.

And students at the University of La Verne were no exception.

“When I heard about it, I was like, ‘Wow!’” said Narlyia Sterling, a ULV sophomore and theatre arts major.

“I didn’t know something could still happen like this in 2007. It just let me know that we still have a fight to fight,” Sterling said.

In a national effort to bring awareness and justice for the Jena Six, Monday was dubbed “national walkout to rally day” by music artist and activist Mos Def, along with M1, Talib Kweli, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Sankofa Community Empowerment, Change the Game, National Hip Hop Political Convention, Hip Hop Association and student leaders nationwide.

A group of University of La Verne students decided to participate in the national event in efforts to bring awareness about the issue to campus.

“We saw postings about it on Facebook,” senior English major Britney Collins said.

“The Jena 6 is a big issue and we wanted to bring awareness about it,” Collins said.

“I felt strongly about the issue all though it is not happening on this side of the country it’s still important to recognize what’s going on and that racism is still alive today,” junior Antoinette Borders said.

The rally took place at noon in front of Davenport where the students peacefully demonstrated by passing out fact sheets as well as read articles pertaining to the issue.

“I was one of the people who read the story and passed out facts sheets to the people who passed by so they could follow along,” Evonne Sweeney, senior liberal arts major said.

The rally attracted between 10 and 15 spectators, who also joined the group of students as they rallied.

Collins also distributed information and thought it was important for students at ULV to know about the issue because many were not aware of what was taking place.

Many of the students who chose to participate in the rally wore black in honor of the day as they came together to recognize the issue at hand and to show continued support.

“I participated because I stand up for what’s right and if we all stand up for something then someone will notice and it will make a difference,” Sterling said.

This event has influenced students across the nation.

“It is important to me because it is something happening in our country,” Sweeney said.

To recognize an issue of such importance allowed students at the University to be a part of a national effort as well as bring awareness to their own community.

“Open your eyes to see what’s going on in your community and take into account that this is your world,” Collins said.

“We should all be aware about it, care about it, and know our rights,” Sweeney said.

For more information about the Jena Six national walk out to rally day, visit mxgm.org/web.

Francine Gobert can be reached at fgobert@ulv.edu.

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