In another victory, here’s another story where you can take a piece of the credit. Thanks to the your hard work and that of Color of Change, the Jena 6 have been released.

Find an account of today’s hearing with more pictures here.

It’s worth noting once more that the NAACP and many other civil rights organizations were not all the ball for the Jena 6. The NAACP originally raised only $20,000, $10k of which was from David Bowie. Pitiful. But black bloggers, Color of Change and YOU made the difference to ensure that justice was served. Nice work, brothers and sisters. Here are more deets courtesy of CoC.

ColorOfChange.org applauds plea deal in Jena 6 case

Online civil rights group raised more than $275,000 for legal defense

Oakland, CA- The organization that led the online mobilization in support of the Jena Six today applauded news that five of the young men have pleaded no contest to greatly reduced charges—a development the group called a just resolution to the racially-charged case.  Though the defendants had initially been charged with attempted murder and conspiracy, they ultimately pleaded no contest to simple battery, and will serve a sentence of just 7 days of probation.

ColorOfChange.org said Friday that the plea deal marked an acknowledgement by officials that the Louisiana justice system initially treated the then-teenage boys too harshly, privileging white students’ accounts of a schoolyard fight over those of black students in the largely segregated town of Jena.

“Today’s plea deal shows that the original charges in the case were unfair and vastly overblown,” said James Rucker, ColorOfChange.org’s executive director. “The story of the Jena 6 was an extreme example of what can happen when a justice system biased against black boys operates unchecked.  But it’s also an example of what can happen when hundreds of thousands of people across the country stand up to challenge unequal justice. Together, we drew the country’s attention to this case and raised the money necessary to fund a strong legal defense.”

ColorOfChange.org, the first national organization involved in supporting the Jena 6, was instrumental in drawing national attention to the case, working alongside local activists in Jena and black bloggers across the country to spread word of the excessive charges and the story behind them.

More than 300,000 ColorOfChange.org members signed petitions to elected officials, urging that the charges be dropped and that then-Governor Kathleen Blanco intervene.   The group organized more than 10,000 of its members to march in Jena on September 20, 2007.  The same day, thousands of members in over 150 cities across the country held rallies and vigils and distributed flyers about the case; they also made more than 6,000 phone calls to public officials in Louisiana.

ColorOfChange members also contributed more than $275,000 toward high-quality legal teams, which succeeded in getting a biased judge removed from the cases and ultimately achieved today’s victory.

Rucker said that the collective effort—joined by bloggers, black radio personalities, and national and Louisiana-based activists—turned the tide in favor of the young men.

The sixth teenager charged, Mychal Bell, pleaded guilty to battery in juvenile court on December 3rd, 2007.

With more than half a million members, ColorOfChange.org is the largest African-American online political organization in the country.

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