[UPDATE (9/20, 10:36 AM): from Chris Johnson at HRC Back Story, an on-site report from Donna Payne –
“We have gotten through to the Ward Park and the intern CEO Dennis Hayes has come out to let us know they were expecting 100 buses in now, but they have been held outside Jena by the State Patrol. Jesse Jackson just cam out to tell us if we have to march down there to get our buses, we will. Folks are ready. NAACP folks are talking to State Police now. The goal is to get Mychal out of jail today. He has not been released even though the sentence was overturned.

PS- They have just reached a deal as I finished- the buses are rolling in at this moment!”]

[UPDATE 2 (11:30A): Oh yeah — another dispatch from Donna Payne via Chris Johnson:
Ricky Smiley (black Christian comedian) spoke and asked where were the big bishops of black churches?  The ones that were with the Faith Based Intiative, and fighting for the gay marriage amendment.  Something that has nothing to do with us, he said.  There was loud clapping.”]

Things are gearing up for the rally in support of the Jena 6 tomorrow (my last post here). Thousands are expected in Jena, Louisiana and at rallies around the country. You can learn more about the event at freethejena6.com and Color of Change. You can search for events near you here.

* No surprise — The Southern Poverty Law Center Warns of Expected White Supremacist Activity at Jena Rally.

One particular web posting, on the white supremacist message board Stormfront.org, came from former Baton Rouge neo-Nazi leader Robert Moore. In the posting, Moore wrote about police security arrangements in Jena and whether weapons would be allowed in certain areas. “Remember, Louisiana is an open-carry state, and your vehicle is an extention [sic] of your home,” he wrote. “We also have the right to defend ourselves if attacked.”

Additional items and comments related to tomorrow are after the jump.* Sigh. I am not surprised at the media whoring Jesse Jackson — he criticized Barack Obama for not speaking out more forcefully on the Jena 6.

“If I were a candidate, I'd be all over Jena,” Jackson was quoted as saying. “Jena is a defining moment, just like Selma was a defining moment.” By not seizing on the issue more, Obama was “acting like he's white,” the paper quoted Jackson as saying. Jackson, who endorsed Obama in March, today denied making that last comment, while The State stood by its reporting. Obama's campaign, meanwhile, noted that he had made a strong statement on the matter last week, when he called for the district attorney to drop the charges and said, “When nooses are being hung in high schools in the 21st century, it's a tragedy. It shows that we still have a lot of work to do as a nation to heal our racial tensions.”

I'm so tired of this “who's black enough” sh*t.

* Donna Payne, HRC's Associate Director of Diversity, is traveling to Jena; There will be Rally of Solidarity in DC and HRC President Joe Solomnese will attend. “The Human Rights Campaign is proud to join with our coalition partners in the civil rights community to show our support for ending racial bias and injustice. This type of prejudice and hate in our country affects all Americans, regardless of race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

* George Cook interviews reporter Suzanne Malveaux of CNN about the Jena 6. CNN's blog on the politics of the Jena 6 case is here.

* dnA has plenty of hot posts on the topic at his pad.

* David Bowie has donated $10K to a legal defense fund for the six black teens

* Chris Dodd on the Jena 6: “The events in Jena, Louisiana are a sobering reminder that while segregation was outlawed long ago, de facto segregation in many parts of this country is still very real. No reasonable person would call what these young men have received 'equal justice.' I sincerely hope that Governor Blanco intervenes in this case and grants immediate reprieves should any of the Jena 6 be convicted.”

* Elizabeth Edwards spoke today at a send-off rally in Columbia, SC for those departing by bus to the rally in Jena. John Edwards released this statement:

“As someone who grew up in the segregated South, I feel a special responsibility to speak out on racial intolerance.  To measure our progress in the fight against racism, today our nation looks to Jena, Louisiana.  Americans of all races are traveling to Jena because they believe that how we respond to the racial tensions in Jena says everything about who we are as a nation.

“When a 'white tree' stands outside a public school, marking a place where white students sit but black students are not welcome, there is something so wrong that the right words are hard to find.  When children have learned to intimidate each other with age-old, hateful symbols of racial terror, we are reminded that we cannot take progress for granted.  And we must turn to the larger truth: that we still have two criminal justice systems in this country — largely defined by race and class.

“Fortunately, we also still have in this country the desire for racial justice, understanding and tolerance.  I am hopeful that justice will be served, these young Americans can look to the future, and the community of Jena will find peace.”

Feel free to post other links to good blogging, statements or news about the goings-on.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding