Black Orginization Targeted For Attack

Daisy Joe, Executive Director of Black Citizens for Justice, Law, and Order, Inc. says Congressman Pete Sessions is a traitor and cannot be trusted as a public servant and a politician. She says his constituents cannot count on him in a crisis because he will sell our for friendship. Joe says thee organization she represents has been harasses repeatedly for over a year, after being asked by North Athens Black Citizens of Concern to attend an open meeting in Athens, in November 2002 regarding racist and discriminatory issues there. During that meeting a BCJLO representative took notes on the information that was given to him by the concerned citizens, many who expressed fear for their lives. In addition to police harassment and intimidation of Black citizens, comments were shared regarding a Black man they say was murdered by the Athens police, which was not investigated, and concerns about a Black female who, at nine months pregnant was reportedly beaten by the Athens police, causing the death of her unborn child.

According to Joe, "The people in Athens, his constituents, tried several times to get Sessions to look at the situation of underhanded dealings and murders of Black citizens, but his office refused to do so. They came to this organization and asked us to try to get Mr. Sessions, because they had heard him on our radio show. We contacted his office and asked that a representative be sent to the open meeting in Athens, but they refused to go. One of our officers' attended, took notes, gave me a copy and forwarded copies to Congressman Pete Sessions, and the U.S. Justice Department. Sessions did not do as he was asked to, which was to look into the allegations made by the Black citizens of Athens, instead, he took the information that was given to him in confidence and sent it to the town mayor, said to be a personal friend. After that, all hell broke lose. This organization has been repeatedly harassed, retaliated against, and filed on in court on an alleged character defamation charge.

This apparently stemmed from the notes of the comments by the citizens of Athens regarding questions about a city council member". Joe says this is when the harassment began and indicates that she and the member who attended the Athens meeting were targeted. Joe says someone was banging on her door to deliver a citation. On several occasions, a constable went to the home of the BCJLO officer who took the notes at the Athens meeting, who was afraid to open his door, as he feared for his life. The organization has also been issued a number of certified letters by the Athens city attorney, demanding that they come to Athens for a deposition. Joe says she even received a personal phone call from Congressman Pete Sessions on December 12, warning her that if she did not comply with the Athens city attorney, she would be handcuffed, arrested and taken to the Athens jail. Joe says just this week she received notification that BCJLO will face a jury trial. Barbara Bowan, of the North Athens Black Citizens Council, wrote to sessions, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Athens city attorney in November of 2003 to indicate that their organization requested the presences of BCJLO to attend the meeting to discuss discrimination issues, and that the member who attended wrote down all the information which was provided during the meeting, including the comments made by the Athens group about a city council member.

She says that there is no justice for Blacks in Athens, and points to the murder of Randle Langly, and the incarceration of the young Black man who was found not guilty by a jury but is still being held in jail. She also says she requested a meeting with Sessions long ago and he has not returned her calls and agrees that he is not concerned about the citizens. According to Bowan, many Black citizens in Athens remain in fear of losing their lives and says that there is widespread nepotism in the city, which further extends the good ol' boy system. Joe says all the stress is jeopardizing her health, as she is a cancer survivor. She says since the harassment has started, it has taken a physical toll on her, as well as Mrs. Bowan, who is also a cancer survivor.

"Pete Sessions chose not to represent all his constituents, he only chose to represent the rich, white republicans, therefore he decided to see sic them on us as an organization to cripple us and at the same time send a message to Black people of Athens, that you better not ask for any outside help. Sessions claimed he was going to go with me to Athens and put me under congressional protection, which no one I spoke with had heard of this. I have a feeling if I had gone, I never would have gotten back because the good ol' boys would have dealt with us, and now they want us to come there for a trial. I believe that Pete Sessions is behind this all. he is a great pretender. he pretends that he cared about the citizens. Both Joe and Bowan say they will not be intimidated and agree this is a tactic to shut them and their organization down. A protest is being planned in front of Sessions, Dallas office on Thursday morning.

By Dr. Pamela Hill
African-American News and Issues