As I took part in marching for justice for the Jena 6, it brought back memories of when my father died seven years ago. In November of 2000 my dad was stopped for exceeding fourteen miles over the speed limit on the expressway. When the officer checked his license, it revealed that it was suspended he was taken to jail. While being detained inside this jail he died. My father lived 37 years and never had any type of brush with the law. This was his first experience behind the walls of a prison and unfortunately the last experience of his life.
Just like Jena, my dad was arrested in a small town, Cumberland County, located in downstate Illinois. During this time the census showed Cumberland County had a population of 11,253. (11,123 Whites, 12 African Americans, and other nationalities making up the rest.)
On this particular night my dad was the only African American being processed along with seven whites. In most cases when being detained for driving on a suspended license and having NO warrants or prior arrests, a person is issued a citation and detained in a holding cell until someone comes to pick them and their car up.
Once your license reveals suspended, the officer usually won’t let you continue to drive. Although my dad had no warrants or prior arrests it didn’t matter, he was still stripped of all his clothes and personal belongings, issued a prison uniform and processed as a prisoner for driving on a suspended license.
Injustice plague our nation on a daily basis and if it is not a high profile case such as the Jena 6 which was spread acrossnation wide then the world would never know about it, the media are the voices we listen to, and the media are the voices we hear. So what about the untold stories of injustice that never hits the media?
Like when a family is being introduce to the body of an alleged hanging victim by a jailed staff, and there are absolutely no marks what’s so ever on the neck, how do u explain this unusual phenomenal?
Then when you have every professional individual in a town working toward a same goal to protect their town and jail staff, what is a family up against. I think about all the silent voices today as I march in the Jena 6 rally. I think about my dad and why did it have to take my family to investigate his death for anyone to listen.
The hanging of the nooses from white high school students which sparked the Jena 6 controversy introduces that lynching blacks is still ALIVE. Although no one died during this tragic event, an injustice occurred and people stepped in to try and right a wrong.