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Jena Six Panel Discussion to Be Held

A panel discussion on the Jena Six Case will be held Tuesday February 12th at 7pm in the Plaster Student Union Ballroom of Missouri State University in Springfield. The panel will talk about different racial issues surrounding the case. KSMU's Emily Nash has more.

The Jena Six case has aroused racial protests and controversy since it began in August 2006.

Six black students from Jena High School in Jena, Louisiana were arrested for beating up one white student.

The black students say the beating was a response after white students hung nooses on a tree outside the high school.

The white students were reprimanded by the school, and the black students were arrested.

Matthew Calihman teaches African American Literature at Missouri State University.

He says the bulk of the controversy surrounding the case, involves the varying charges for the white and black students.

"Many have in the movement around Jena Six have argued that the original charges and the court cases surrounding the Jena Six have been grossly unfair and that those cases have been tainted by racism."

He says Jena Six case is actually multiple cases, dealing with a lot of different interracial issues.

"The case involves issues of interracial violence, new interracial violence, memories of old racial violence. And it involves questions about race and the law. And those concerns should be all of our concerns for Springfield and the rest of the nation."

Calihman says the Jena Six case has been a hot topic for students on campus at Missouri State University.

"I think students are particularly interested in the question of whether this case could form a basis for a new civil rights movement."

Panel members include a lawyer, a pastor, and several Missouri State professors and students.

The discussion will tackle questions like 'has racial bias been eliminated from the American judicial system?'

And 'are American schools meaningfully integrated."

The discussion will take place in the Plaster Student Union Ballroom at Missouri State on Tuesday February 12th at 7pm.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information we have a link to the Missouri State web site at KSMU. Org.


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