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Brown: Wear black today, green Friday

Kaitlyn Riely | Thursday, September 20, 2007

“The Shirt” solidarity day, originally scheduled for today, was postponed to Friday because of the previously scheduled national solidarity day on which people have been asked to wear black to show support for a group of six black teenagers facing criminal charges in a small town in Louisiana.

The African-American teenagers – known as the “Jena 6” – allegedly assaulted a white teenager following a string of racial flare-ups in the racially charged town of Jena, La. They were originally charged with attempted second-degree murder.

Student body president Liz Brown and vice president Maris Braun sent an e-mail to the student body Tuesday evening encouraging students to wear “The Shirt” today to show support for the football team, which is 0-3 heading into its fourth game Saturday, against Michigan State.

Brown and Braun said Wednesday that many people notified them of the conflict after their first e-mail was received. They said they were aware of the trial but not aware that Thursday was designated as a day to wear black in support of the Jena 6.

Brown said leaders of “The Shirt” Project and officials at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore approached student government to encourage students to take part in a show of support for the football team.

“We didn’t select the day for a particular reason,” Brown said. “We were just in support of the cause.”

Once they realized the conflict, Brown and Braun sent an e-mail to the student body postponing “The Shirt” day until Friday and encouraging students to wear black today.

“It was not the intention of Student Government to plan a day in support of ND Football on the same day as a national movement to support the Jena 6,” the e-mail said. “This was obviously an oversight on our part, and by no means a political statement or an attempt to overshadow the importance of this national issue.”

At the Student Senate meeting Wednesday, Brown recommended senators and their constituents wear black today.