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City Council Office
 Policy Order Resolution
  July 30, 2007

WHEREAS: In September of 2006, in Jena, Louisiana, a group of African-American students sat under "the white tree" in the Jena High School yard and the following day three nooses were hung from the tree; and
WHEREAS: Throughout the fall, incidents occurred including an arson attack which damaged a school building and several assaults on African-American students in which the white offenders were not charged; and
WHEREAS: In December, white students taunted an African-American student who had been assaulted over the weekend and a fight broke out in the school during which one of the white students was assaulted and treated in the hospital but able to appear at a social function that night; and
WHEREAS: Six African-American students were immediately arrested, charged with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder, expelled from school with charges which could bring them 20-100 years in prison; and
WHEREAS: In June an all-white jury convicted the first defendant Mychal Bell of "lesser" charges of aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery in a trial where the prosecutor called only white witnesses, some of whom said they did not see anything and Bell's public defender called no witnesses and offered no evidence; and
WHEREAS: This frightening example of racism calls to mind an earlier time in the United States in which segregation and the "lynching" of African-Americans was common practice; and
WHEREAS: Part of the reason these practices were brought to an end was the courage demonstrated by those who stood up in their own defense and the attention from others around the country; and
WHEREAS: The young men charged with these crimes and their families have been eloquent in their own defense and calling for justice; and
WHEREAS: Cambridge has a history of standing with communities around the globe and within the United States who are facing threats with the awareness that prejudice and oppression can happen anywhere there is not vigilance; now therefore be it
RESOLVED: That the Cambridge City Council expresses its dismay at the practices of the legal system in Jena if all-white juries and an unbalanced judicial process unfairly serve the African-American community and fail to hold accountable those in the white community who are responsible for behaviors of verbal intimidation and physical assaults; and be it further


That the Cambridge City Council goes on record in support of the young men and their families in Jena in their pursuit of justice; and be it further


That the City Clerk be and hereby is requested to forward a suitably engrossed copy of this resolution to the families of the "Jena Six" young men, J. Reed Walters, District Attorney of LaSalle Parish and Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco on behalf of the entire City Council. 

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