Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bowie donates $10,000 to Jena 6, celebrities plan rally

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Calling it a "small gesture," on his behalf, rocker David Bowie has stepped into the Jena 6 controversy by donating $10,000 to a legal defense fund for the six black teenagers.
Bowie's contribution to the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund was applauded by the NAACP. "We are gratified that rock star David Bowie was moved to donate to the NAACP's Jena campaign," National Board of Directors Chairman Julian Bond of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said in a statement. "We hope others will join him."
Thursday will be a big day for the town of Jena, as thousands of protesters are set to march through the town in support of Mychal Bell and five other teen held in an attack on a white classmate at Jena High School. Will they burn the mysterious and majestic "White Tree"? Will the Ku Klux Klan meet the protesters on the streets of Jena?
Bowie, and his African wife, Iman, have long supported civil causes all across the world. The British singer said it was imperative to speak out about what's happening in the Louisiana town. "There is clearly a separate and unequal judicial process going on in the town of Jena," Bowie said Tuesday in an e-mail statement. "A donation to the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund is my small gesture indicating my belief that a wrongful charge and sentence should be prevented."
A number of black celebities, pretty much organized by author and radio talkshow host Michael Baisden and a handful of other celebrities, have spoken out about the situation and plan to rally Thursday in Jena. "Free the Jena Six Rally and Concert" will feature performances by Lyfe Jennings and David Banner at LaSalle Parish Ward 10 Recreational Park in Jena. Other entertainers include rapper/poet Mos Deaf, comedians Steve Harvey and Rickey Smiley and radio show host Tom Joyner.
The Rev. Al Sharpton said he'll broadcast his syndicated radio show "Keeping It Real," from Alexandria today, then travel about 35 miles to Jena in an attempt to visit Bell, who remains in jail because he is unable to post $90,000 bond. Bell was found guilty on second-degree battery charges June 28 by a six-member, all-white jury. Before the case was overturned by the state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal, his sentencing had been set for Thursday.
The court said Bell, who was 16 at the time of the alleged December 2006 beating, shouldn't have been tried as an adult.
Sharpton says he expects more than 10,000 marchers.

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