Darryl Hunt Asked to Speak at 'Jena Six' Rally
FOX8 Photojournalist Joe Mc Closkey
FOX8 News

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) – Darryl Hunt knows injustice.  He spent almost 20 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. 
Hunt will join hundreds of people who will leave the Piedmont early Wednesday to travel the approximate 881 miles to Jena, Louisiana.  A rally will be held there Thursday to protest the outcome of a racially-charged school yard beating that has gained national attention.

Mychal Bell, 17, is one of six black teenagers charged in the beating of a white Jena High School classmate in December 2006.  He was tried as adult on second degree murder charges.  Bell was convicted of aggravated battery.  

On Friday, Sept. 14, a Louisiana state appeals court threw out Bell's conviction.  The court ruled Bell, who was 16 at the time of the attack, should not have been tried as an adult. 

The attack followed a number of incidents that have inflamed racial animosity in the mostly white town. The charges against the six have sparked criticism that the black students are being treated more harshly than whites.  The students charged have become known as the Jena Six.

Darryl Hunt said he was asked Tuesday to be a key speaker at the rally. 

"What happened to me is the same mentality that is perpetrated that's going on down there in Louisiana right now, and that's wrong," said Hunt.  "It's time for our system of justice to change."

Forsyth County NAACP President Stephen Hairston, along with students from Winston-Salem State University, North Carolina A&T State University and Bennett College will leave for Jena early Wednesday.

"I think they have awakened a sleeping giant," said Hairston.  "I think black people are starting to realize the clock is being turned back on us."

Some expect Thursday's rally in Jena to be the largest gathering since the civil rights movement of the 1960's.

"America will not stand by and just let them do a miscarriage of justice on these young people," said State Rep. Earline Parmon (D – District 72, Forsyth County).
The trip to Jena from Greensboro, according to online map programs, is 881 miles.

Hunt said he will share his story of hope and faith at the rally.

"God works through people and the people are coming."

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