Statement regarding The Michael Baisden Show and the Jena 6

Marcus Jones - the father of Mychal Bell, one of the Jena 6 - was a guest on Michael Baisden's syndicated radio show on Monday, November 5, 2007. On that day and the subsequent day, Marcus Jones and Michael Baisden questioned ColorofChange.org's authority to collect money for the Jena 6 legal defense, claimed that collected proceeds had not been provided, and made negative comments about our executive director.

Here are the facts:

  • ColorOfChange.org was known by all the Jena 6 families. Our executive director, James Rucker, had previously met with the families on at least five occasions in Jena and had positive relationships with all of them, with the exception of Marcus Jones.
     
  • The Jena 6 families were all aware of how we raise money and how we distributed it. We made payments to their attorneys at the families' sole direction. Within 24 hours of receiving written authorization from the family, along with an invoice from an attorney, we sent checks for all funds available for a given defendant (1/6 of the overall funds, given the fact that there are six Jena 6 families).
     
  • ColorOfChange.org had disbursed $210,809.90 of the $212,039.90 collected as of the last reporting period (October 4, 2007) before the November broadcast. These distributions covered all invoices we had received from the young men's legal teams to that date. $33,150.00 was sent to Louis Scott, Marcus Jones' son's lawyer on October 7th (Scott was able to request $35,339.98 but only provided an invoice for $33,150.)
     
  • Prior to the broadcast, ColorofChange.org had put Michael Baisden Show staff in touch with Jena 6 families and provided relevant documentation on the transfer of defense funds to Jena 6 family attorneys.
     
  • Marcus Jones stated that David Bowie contributed $10,000 to ColorOfChange.org's fund. Bowie's contribution was made to the NAACP for Jena 6 legal defense and was widely reported--ColorOfChange.org never came in contact with this donation.

    A link to the NAACP's press release about that donation is here:

    http://www.naacp.org/news/press/2007-09-18/index.htm.