After more than two years of protesting, writing phone calls and thousands of people descending on Jena, Louisiana, to protest this outrageous retro Jim Crow case, the Jena 6, Jesse Ray Beard, Carwin Jones, Robert Bailey, Theo Shaw, Bryant Purvis and Mychal Bell are all free to move ahead with their lives.
The five remaining Jena 6 cases were brought to a conclusion last Friday when Beard, Jones, Bailey, Shaw, and Purvis pleaded "no contest" to misdemeanor simple battery charges.
They will spend no time in jail, serve seven unsupervised days on probation, and were fined $500 and court fees.
It's a remarkable outcome considering the Jena Six were originally and outrageously charged with attempted murder in this small Louisiana town with a racist past for what basically was a schoolyard fight provoked by nooses hung in a tree.
The white students involved in that incident that was euphemistically called a "youthful prank" were only suspended from school. But it led to escalating racial tensions and serious retaliatory incidents against African-Americans in Jena that weren't reported by the MSM or prosecuted either. All they focused on was the fight with Justin Barker.
Thanks to the efforts of Black bloggers, the Jena Six got the attention of Tom Joyner, the African-American community, our civil rights orgs and later the rest of the MSM.
They began to get attention about their plight thanks to ColorofChange.org, funding and high profile legal representation.
It culminated in 50,000 people coming from all over the United States to peacefully descend on Jena in a televised September 20, 2007, protest.
Because people stood up, these six young men are not rotting in a Louisiana jail for basically BS charges and are moving on with their lives.
While Judge JP Mauffray was removed from the case because of the appearance of bias, unfortunately the person largely responsible for the drama in the first place, LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters, still has his job.
Nevertheless, justice prevailed. It's now up to the Jena 6 to ensure that they take advantage of the opportunity the African-American community and our allies collectively fought to give them and ensure they never do.