True to Philander Smith College President Walter Kimbrough's promise to inspire social activism on campus, the school will have a candlelight vigil tonight for the Jena 6, the black Louisiana high school students who haven't gotten nearly enough attention for their heavy-handed prosecution arising from a racial dispute. The vigil is at 9 p.m. at the Wesley UMC on campus. Then about 130 students, faculty and staff will board buses to travel to Jena for a protest and rally tomorrow that is drawing national attention (if you depend on such sources as Tavis Smiley, you'll know a good deal more than you do from traditional outlets.)
ALSO: The Black Law Students Association will hold a vigil for the Jena 6 at noon today at MacArthur Park.
PHILANDER SMITH NEWS RELEASE
College Plans Candlelight Prayer Vigil in Support of the ‘Jena 6’
(Little Rock, Ark.) ¯ Philander Smith College will hold a candlelight prayer vigil in support of the Jena 6—six Black high school students involved in a racially charged beating case in the small Louisiana town of Jena—at 9 p.m. Wednesday, September 19 at Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church. Following the prayer vigil, approximately 130 Philander Smith College students, faculty and staff will board buses and travel to Jena to participate in a national protest and rally for the six students scheduled for Thursday, September 20. The Jena 6 are awaiting trial on aggravated battery, attempted murder, and/or conspiracy charges for what many have described as a “school yard fight” involving a white Jena high school student. The fight came after a series of racially charged incidents in Jena, including one in which three White students hung nooses from a tree at the school.
Organizers at Philander Smith College, which in August announced a new focus on social justice, say the trip will provide an out-of-class educational experience for students. “This trip is important to show our students first hand that issues of injustice impact them and their generation, and for them to witness the power to draw attention to problems through peaceful protest,” said Walter M. Kimbrough, president of the college.
The candlelight prayer vigil will consist of prayer, singing, poetry and inspirational messages by President Kimbrough; Bishop Felton May, dean of the Kendall Health Science and Mission Center; Rev. Ronnie Miller Yow, chaplain at Philander Smith College and pastor of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church; and students of the college.
Additionally, organizers are requesting that all participants wear black.
For more additional information, please contact the Office of Religious Life at Philander Smith College at (501) 370-5344.