September 20, 2007
The progressive blogosphere cares about the Jena 6

But why aren't we writing about them? I had a post almost ready to go about this post by Chris Kromm on Facing South that says the progressive blogosphere has been silent about the Jena 6 and why that might be, but Pam at Pandagon beat me to that. She put forth a couple viable reasons and her post is worth a read. Chris ends his post at FS with an interesting point:

However, many of these blogs are eagerly pointing to news stories which suggest the Republican candidates don't care about black issues.

But who is showing they're out of touch with the issues that matter most to the African American community?

Are blogs out of touch with the African-American community? I remember a couple months ago when we were hit with a slew of posts about the white male domination of the internet, and I'm sure that contributes to at least the perception that bloggers don't care as much about African-American issues. I can't imagine why progressive blogs wouldn't cover the Jena 6 though, because this is such a blatant display of racism - which is why Feministing proposes the MSM didn't even know where to begin with the issue. Maybe we're all a little embarrassed that things like this are still happening. I definitely am. I thought it was interesting that Pandagon and Feministing, two of my favorite female-run blogs, wrote about the Jena 6 quite a bit. Pam posted a statement by Joe Solmonese of the Human Rights Campaign in which he emphasizes that if some of us are left out, we all are, which I think is why feminists care about race issues and GLBT activists care about race issues and so on. I re-posted his statement after the jump.

My name is Joe Solmonese and I represent the largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organization in the country. Am I am here -- we are all here from the Human Rights Campaign -- because this injustice cannot stand.

We are here because we know about bigotry. We know about hate. We know the pain in high school of standing apart. Of being taunted. Of standing up, only too often, to be shut down.

I am here -- we are here -- because you have stood with us. Because all of us know that one injustice against any of us is an injustice against all of us.

And I am here because I remember. I remember James Byrd. James was a gentle soul, a special soul. Someone who struggled his whole life with challenges, but was filled with love and was deeply loved in Jasper, Texas.

But James Byrd -- at 49 -- was savagely beaten, then chained to a pickup truck and literally dragged to his death. He was brutally murdered because he was black.

And then something really profound happened. Remember when George Bush was governor of Texas? Well, Governor Bush had a hate crimes bill on his desk. There was a lot of pressure to sign the bill because of what they did to James Byrd. So, George Bush said he'd sign that bill, but they had to take the gays out.

And here's what happened. Stella Byrd, who has just buried her beaten, broken, gentle James said, If some of us are left out, then all of us are. Valuing one life and not valuing another is not right. And the Byrd family said No. They said No. And they walked away.

So, I stand here today with solidarity. I stand here for social justice. I stand here to free those young men. To say this will not stand. It cannot stand. I stand here for the Jena 6. I stand here today for James Byrd.

We will not forget. We will never walk away.

Thank you very much.

Posted by Alexandria Ragsdale on September 20, 2007 to National news