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Voices of Trinity: Jena Six, Part I


Quite a few students replied to my Constitution Day question: did the defendants known as the Jena 6 receive the Due Process and Equal Protection of the Laws guaranteed to all citizens by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States?

In this blog and upcoming blogs this week, I am publishing sample excerpts from those student comments on this topic and urging continuing discussion. If you want to learn more about the Jena Six please see the blog prior to this one, and click on the various links to news stories and sites.

Tashayla Montfort, a Sociology/Criminal Justice major, was the first response to my appeal for comments, and she submitted a very thoughtful opinion along with an original poem. These are excerpts from her commentary:

“My thought in relation to this particular case is that it is a recurring issue that just so happened to be publicized. Under no circumstance should there be a jury of all — African, African American, White, Asian, Hispanic, Indian etc. America is made up of all kinds of people. This case had an initial conflict relating to racism, there should have been a mixed jury. They did not get a fair trial…

“The constitution was put in place as an outline
But soon we would find
deception in every line
life as opposed to a fine
accused of a crime
that gun was not mine
Is it a sign
Those words that were meant save
have put some in the grave
Created rage
Not because the lines are not true
Because those with power choose not to follow through
What should we do
Ignoring a visual outline demonstrating what is right and wrong
Integrity torn
We do not wish to do what is right
Let’s treat people unjustly, start a war
Let’s fight
Not tonight
Let’s follow the outline, as it carefully defines
Your rights…as well as mine.

“The Constitution was put in place to demonstrate examples of actions which are ethical. This case violates Amendment VIII in that the boys received a cruel and unusual punishment. I have attended junior high school as well as high school. I have witnessed and heard about fights, however, no one was charged with attempted murder. There were school rivalries where 20 people would attack 1 person. It was shown on the news and those involved got a slap on the wrist. It is certain that this case did not meet the goals and the mission of the Constitution.”

More student comments will appear on this blog in the next few days.

For more information see:

NAACP Website

USA Today

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: