From Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco’s press office:
???I have received hundreds of calls, letters and emails from citizens concerned about the situation involving the case of the high school students in Jena, La. As Governor, as a citizen of the State of Louisiana, and as a mother, without rushing to judgment, I condemn racism in any form, and I fully expect that those involved in this case, including all parties, will act with fairness and in complete good faith.
???I must clear up a widespread misunderstanding of my authority in this case. Our State Constitution provides for three Branches of State Government – Legislative, Executive, and Judicial – and the Constitution prohibits anyone in one branch from exercising the powers of anyone in another branch. This issue is currently a matter in the Judicial System, and should those involved in this case suffer any defects, it is their right to address them in that system through the appeals court.
???Again, the oversight regarding how this case was handled, from arrest to prosecution, lies within the Justice System. Therefore, I have consulted Attorney General Charles Foti and Donald Washington, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, regarding these events in Jena. As a result, General Foti has been and is in consultation with U.S. Attorney Washington and other members of the Justice System. Regardless of the outcome of this case, the Jena community has much healing ahead of it, and I urge all those citizens to come together for the common good of their community and their state. Our children deserve nothing less.???
In response to the Gov’s statement, Edie Griffin wrote the following letter. I will sign my name to this letter too (it’s so well written) and email it to the Gov.
AN OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR KATHLEEN BLANCO
Office of the Governor
Attn: Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
P.O. Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9004
RE: The Healing of Jena
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Dear Governor Blanco:
We are encouraged by your recognition of the problem in Jena . Recognizing that there is something terribly wrong in the prosecution of these six African-American youths may be more eye-opening than Hurricane Katrina. It is not something that will simply just blow over.
In your August 30 statement, you assert a condemnation of “racism in any form”. Wonderful! Racism in Louisiana should have disappeared many years ago. But putting your confidence in the hands of all “involved” parties- that they “will act with fairness and in complete good faith”- is not confidence equally shared by the African-American community around the nation nor, indeed, by the rest of the civilized world.
This thing should have never happened. This criminal prosecution should have never gone forward, considering that it was a high school problem grown out of racial tension. On whose side is the State of Louisiana and its public school system?
If justice in the state is as impartial as you alluded to in your statement, then it is the job of the governor to “insure” that everyone is treated fairly before the bar.
We agree with your assessment: The Jena community has much healing ahead of it. But the community cannot heal itself; otherwise, the situation would have never escalated out of hand to begin with.
Maybe the fact that you, at least, recognize the problem seems courageous enough. But Jena needs more than a governor with maternal instincts. Instead of urging “all those citizens to come together for the common good of their community and their state”, maybe you should take charge- not like in the aftermath of Katrina- but true out-front assertive leadership for the “common good of the state”.
When a community as divided as Jena cannot solve its own problems, the governor needs to either send in the National Guards, or get up off her fanny and go to Jena and call a town hall meeting.
Since September 20 is the sentencing date of young Mychal Bell and the date that thousands of people from around the world will converge on the town of Jena , this would be a politically opportune time to show the world what you are made of, as a leader.
Black Accused Support Group (BASG)
Now, you can write a letter too. Use this link to access the email form to contact the Gov. of Louisiana. And while you’re at it you can complain about the rebuilding of New Orleans too. Here’s the automated response. I requested to be contacted by email so it will be interesting to see if I am.
Thank you for your e-mail.
If you would like to sign up to receive messages from my office, please visit this link.
As your Governor, I look forward to hearing from you and about the ways we can work together to improve Louisiana.
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