Friday, September 21, 2007

Very costly seats!

From the conspiracies and jealousy sparked by Miriam and her brother Aaron in the earliest Jewish establishment when Zippora wife of Moses took a seat of prominence (in the leadership of the establishment causing the influence of Miriam, and her brother Aaron to wane) to the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus – people of color have paid a very high price for a seat at the table of prominence.

So much time has passed since those infamous events, so why would thousands of black people in the US, hold protests all week after a recent event under a tree?

The tree on the Jena High School grounds is known as the "white" tree where only white students congregated. When a black student asked the school principal if he could sit under the tree; he was told that he could sit anywhere he liked. The day after a group of black students sat under the tree with their white friends, three white students hanged three nooses in the tree as a warning to black students. The three white students were suspended, however the superintendent, who is white, diminished the incident, calling it "a youthful stunt" and overturned the suspension.
Two months later, a white student in support of those who hung the nooses got into an argument with six black students, which led to a fight in which the white student suffered a bruised face. Although the white student was not hospitalized and even attended a school function later that night. The black students were charged with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy. One of the students Mychal Bell, 17, was convicted of aggravated second-degree battery, which could have led to 15 years in prison. But his conviction was thrown out by a state appeals court that said he could not be tried on the charge as an adult because he was 16 at the time of the beating.

Today, a judge denied a request to release the teenager while an appeal is been reviewed by a juvenile court, effectively denying him any chance at immediate bail. He has been in jail because his bail was set very high at $ 90,000.

Who would imagine that a seat under this Jena high school tree, would cost six blacks students more than 20 yrs in jail?

Such events underscore the importance of celebrating those of our people like Prof Clive Chirwa who have secured through their courage, endurance and exceptional wisdom a very costly seat at the table of prominence in the western world.

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