Member of 'Jena Six' Free on Bail
MICHEL MARTIN, host:
I'm Michel Martin. This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News.
In a few minutes, as the Congressional Black Caucus gathers for its annual legislative conference in Washington, we'll speak with two rising stars in Congress about race and leadership. And we'll talk about last night's Republican presidential forum.
But first, we have an update on the case of the six black teens who are being prosecuted for the beating of a white student in Jena, Louisiana, the Jena Six. Last night, just a week after more than 10,000 protestors rallied in Jena in support of the Jena Six, Mychal Bell was released after his bail was cut to $45,000 and immediately paid. Bell had been in jail for nine months and was convicted by an all-white jury of conspiracy to commit battery in connection with the beating. He was the only one of the six still imprisoned.
Joining me now is Lindsay Dial. We talked to her last week as she was heading toward the Jena rally on a bus from her home in Atlanta. She joins me now from Atlanta.
Ms. LINDSAY DIAL (Resident, Atlanta): Hi.
MARTIN: So you heard the news, what was your reaction?
Ms. DIAL: I was excited. I mean, I actually first heard it from someone at your company. They had called me and told me about it because I wasn't in front of the news, but I said I need to see it, like I needed to see him and see him actually out of jail before - I just really - this is, like, thank God, so I'm very excited.
MARTIN: Do you think that your presence made a difference?
Ms. DIAL: I do because it brought the needed attention to this issue. They knew down there that they needed to have all their teeth crossed and their eyes darted. They knew that we were about business. And I think, just in regards to our generation, it just sparked conversation that we've never had before.
MARTIN: Is there a next step that you would like to see happen as a result of the activism that's been stimulated around this - the Jena Six?
Ms. DIAL: We need to get more involved in our community at educating the youth so they don't go down this route, and even have to see the judicial system. So you know, being a big brother, a big sister, do anything in the community to help somebody who has no one to help themselves. I think that's definitely a necessity. And I think that we need to, as a people, just keep talking and keep making footsteps towards the right direction.
MARTIN: And speaking of talking, what did you all talk about on that bus? That was a pretty long bus ride to Jena and back. What did you all talk about?
Ms. DIAL: It was very long. It was a group of us. I was sitting in the front -that was pretty much the same generation as me and, you know, some thought that Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, you know, what they should have done or what they could have done better. And, you know, my perspective on it was, I feel like, you know, we need to get involved. You need to have all your ducks in a row before you say leadership needs to be doing this or that, and it was just more so - I think I was thinking that, you know, we're looking as a people for someone to save us, and it's time for our generation to really step up, you know. It was all good at the end of the day because we were talking, you know, about important issues.
MARTIN: All right. Lindsay, keep in touch.
Ms. DIAL: All right. Thank you.
MARTIN: Lindsay Dial rode a bus to the rally in Jena, Louisiana. She was one of about 10 or 15,000 protesters who rallied there last week. She joined us from her home in Atlanta.
Lindsay, thanks again.
Ms. DIAL: Thank you.
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