The LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters agreed to a plea bargain on Monday for one of the black teenagers facing trial in the Jena Six case. With this deal, the charges against Mychal Bell, 17, will be sharply reduced. Walters dropped the conspiracy charge, and Bell pled guilty to a juvenile charge of second-degree battery for a sentence of 18 months in jail with credit for the ten months he has already served, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Bell is the first of the Jena Six students to face trial for their alleged roles in the assault of white student Justin Barker at Jena High School on Dec. 4, 2006. The attack capped months of racial tension in the town, which began after three white students hung nooses from a tree on the high school campus. School administrators treated the hanging of the nooses as a prank, and did not expel the student responsible.
Civil rights leaders asserted that the school and legal system treated the black students more harshly than the white ones. The charges against Bell and the five other black students, who became known as the "Jena Six," drew more than 20,000 protesters to the Louisiana town in September.
Media Resources: Associated Press 12-4-07; Chicago Tribune 12-3-07; Feminist Daily Newswire 9/20/07
12/19/2013 Pro-Choice Democrat Wins VA Attorney General Race - Pro-choice state Senator Mark Herring (D) is the new attorney general of Virginia, defeating State Senator Obenshain (R) who conceded the race - after a vote recount - yesterday.
This is a huge victory for women's reproductive health and rights. . . .
12/19/2013 Rep. Lee Introduces Bill to End Federal Funding of Abstinence Education - Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) has introduced a bill - Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act of 2013 (HR 3774) - this week that would end federal funding of abstinence-only programs and support comprehensive sexuality education.
"We need to get serious about educating our young people about sex," said Lee. . . .
12/19/2013 White House Highlights Benefits of Affordable Care Act to Moms - President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama met with a group of eight mothers yesterday to discuss how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) benefits their families and to learn about the work these women have done in their communities to encourage people to learn about the law and sign up for health coverage.
"There's something about moms," remarked President Obama, who also noted that "women oftentimes are the ones who are making the health care decisions of the family."
The ACA guarantees that all new health insurance plans, including plans purchased through state Health Insurance Marketplaces, must cover - without additional copays or coinsurance - maternity benefits, including pre- and post-natal care, as well as comprehensive breastfeeding counseling and support, contraception, and screening for STIs. . . .