About 100 folks showed up at the Bethel AME Church in Northeast Portland to show support for the Jena 6. I was there with the baby, and saw a few other folks I know from the community. Mostly African-Americans in the audience.
We were asked to wear black.
The event was organized, as far as I could tell, by young African-Americans, the "Prospective Gents Club" was listed as the sponsors. We heard from two folks that I look forward to connecting with – Charlene McGee, the new 20-something NAACP Portland Chapter President, and Ethan Thrower, who grew up some years Unitarian, and whom I corresponded with while he was incarcerated. It was impressive to hear young folks, high schoolers, talk about their experiences and perspectives related to the Jena 6.
One young speaker talked about the symbolism of the tree and the Black community. The roots of connection to ancestry, the strength of the trunk, the ability to reach out expressed by the branches, and the cycles of change and renewal in the leaves.
Another talked about the pen, the power to destroy lives with written charges, the power to support by writing a check, the ability to write a letter of support.
The media was present, tv and print folks from what I could see. There was a nice program, and good education. I would have liked to see some encouragement to meet one another, that may have happened during the Vigil Peace Walk scheduled after the Speak-Out.