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Hampton University hosts Jena 6 awareness rally

Hampton, Va. – Several Hampton University student organizations will host a Jena 6 awareness event on Thursday, Sept. 20 at noon in front of the Hampton University Student Center.  There will be a moment of silence for the Jena 6, poetry and monologue readings and a petition-singing booth.   

The Hampton University chapters of the Alpha Phi Alpha and Iota Phi Theta Fraternities, Student Leaders, and the Student Government Association will sponsor the petition signing.  Students are looking to gain as many signatures as possible to send to various outlets including local and state government officials, as well as the Governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco. 

“This is an event that I think everyone should support because of the magnitude of this case.  This is a golden opportunity for college students to come together and let their voices be heard and hopefully somehow we can make a change,” said Byron McClure, a senior psychology major from Fort Washington, Md., and the chairman of the event.

The story of the Jena 6 has been one of the most heated and, until recently, virtually unknown news stories of the past year. Six black Jena High School students were originally charged on December 4, 2006 of attempted second-degree murder because of a fight with a white classmate.  With heavy criticism coming from civil rights activists around the country, last week original charges of adult aggravated battery were reduced against a black student, Mychal Bell who faced up 15 years in prison.  Bell is now being charged as a minor.            

“We are ecstatic that the charges were reduced, but that doesn’t mean the fight is over.  The struggle is still evident, so there is obviously a cause to still push forward with this,” said McClure. 

For more information regarding the Jena 6 Rally Awareness Event contact the Office of Student Activities at (757) 727-5691.

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