David Bowie has donated $10,000 to a legal defense fund for six African-American teens in the southern state of Louisiana. Known in the media as the "Jena Six," they are charged in an alleged attack on a white classmate in the small town of Jena.
The NAACP announced the British rock artist's donation to the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund as thousands of protestors prepared for a September 20 march on Jena.
In a September 18 e-mail statement, Bowie said "There is clearly a separate and unequal judicial process going on in the town of Jena. A donation to the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund is my small gesture indicating my belief that a wrongful charge and sentence should be prevented."
On June 28, a six-member all-white jury found Mychal Bell guilty of second degree battery. Louisiana's 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal overturned his case prior to his sentencing, which was set for September 20. The court said Bell, who was 16 at the time of the alleged December 2006 beating, should not have been tried as an adult.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who organized the march, planned on September 19 to visit Bell, who remains jailed because he is unable to post $90,000 bond. Sharpton says he expects more than 10,000 marchers. "We are gratified that rock star David Bowie was moved to donate to the NAACP's Jena campaign,"
National Board of Directors Julian Bond of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said in a statement. "We hope others will join him."