I have lived in Jena for almost 33 years. Having said that, I hope you did not pre-judge me. This diary is not specifically about the Jena 6. It is about closure and addressing the misconceptions about the black/white relationships in my town.
Let me introduce you to “Jane”. She was one of the finest student-athletes that I ever coached. Unfortunately, she used poor judgment in the selection of a boyfriend (and the father of their son). On April 22, her boyfriend ran over her, their son, and her father. “Jane” wrote a thank you letter which was recently published in our local paper. This eloquently written letter will give you an insight into the heart of our community. For the sake of brevity, I’ve only included the first paragraph. “Jane’s” letter:
I would like to take this time to personally thank everyone who prayed for me and my family and those who continue to keep us in their prayers. On April 22, 2009, a senseless act of cruel violence could have taken the lives of my son, my father, and myself. This was a typical black-on-black crime. On this evening, myself and my son’s injuries led us to LaSalle General Hospital. Over 150 people, black as well as white, gathered in the parking lot to say a special parayer for my family. Race was not an issue, the well being of my family was first priority. I myself was unable to witness this beautiful sight of unity that some suggest does not exist in LaSalle Parish. Just hearing the stories my family and friends have told me, touches my heart. This act shows that unity is alive and that LaSalle Parish citizens have love for me and my family. As me and my son were loaded up in the ambulance to depart to Rapides Regional Medical Center, I heard someone say “Where is CNN and BBC tonight?”
This is the Jena I know and love. Case closed.