Local students return from Jena

By: Jessica Floyd Email
By: Jessica Floyd Email

AUGUSTA, Ga. - It's back to the normal routine at Paine College. But students here have made their mark in history.

"It was pretty amazing to see all those people gathered for the same cause--just thousands of people coming together to fight for justice," said Sophomore Justin Tigner.

Tigner was one of 80 students from Paine who traveled to Jena, Louisiana for what some people are calling--a civil rights march for justice and equality.

"Our school was a part of history--when you're contributing to something that's going down in the books for years to come--this was a really important event."

So important -- that the Dean of Students, Dr. Elais Etinge, will hold a forum soon to discuss the Jena 6 movement--to make sure all students understand the true meaning of the march.

"The matter was not to support the guy for what he did--but the penalty for which he was given was inappropriate--nobody condones violence in any form, but the punishment should fit the crime," said Dr. Etinge.

Mychal Bell was the only one of the Jena 6 still being held in jail. In addition to marching and opposing what could be a 22-year sentence for Bell--Paine students also helped others in raising money for his bond.

"There was no violence. Everybody was happy--no counter-demonstrations like some of us were expecting," said Etinge.

The students say--if they had to...they'd do it all again.

"It's not about race, it's about injustice. If it happened to anyone--I would feel we should stand up for them too--because wrong is wrong and right is right," said Tigner.

A forum called " Reflections on the Jena 6 Protest" will be held Monday on the campus of Paine College at 2pm. It's free and open to the public.

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