A quick update:

Michael Baisden, DJ, apologizes to Color of Change (sort of). At least he acknowledges that he didn’t quite have his facts straight and credits CoC for their work. Hmph.

An excerpt:

The Michael Baisden show and staff were given inaccurate information regarding donations made by the public and David Bowie. We apologize to our listeners and to ColorofChange for not seeking more reliable sources. According to documentation provided by the organization through their web site, all the funds collected by ColorofChange have been distributed to the families as promised.

We do, however, respect the right of four of the Jena 6 families who have insisted that ColorofChange discontinue collection of any monies on their behalf. But this should not reflect on the integrity of this organization which has collected and distributed over $200,000 to their legal defense.

The problems with his “apology”:

a) it’s buried deep within his listener forums and there’s no link on his main website that I can find.
b) clearing Color of Change’s name merits an on air apology as loud as his false accusations against them (and those of us who supported them)
c) when will Color of Change have the opportunity to share their side on Baisden’s show?
d) while Baisden is pointing fingers, it would be interesting to hear an accounting of where his fundraising for the Jena 6 families has gone.

I’ve heard that James Rucker of CoC is on the Tom Joyner Morning Show this am which is great. I have a lot of respect for both parties and am looking forward to hearing the recording. The TJMS has a wider reach than Michael Baisden so this is good news.

Howard Witt of the Chicago Tribune
set the record straight:

Michael Baisden, a nationally syndicated black radio host who is leading a major fundraising drive on behalf of the Jena 6, has declined to reveal how much he has collected. Attorneys for the first defendant to go to trial, Mychal Bell, say they have yet to receive any money from him.
Only one national civil rights group, Color of Change, has fully disclosed how the $212,000 it collected for the Jena 6 via a massive Internet campaign has been distributed. The grassroots group, which has nearly 400,000 members, has posted images of cancelled checks and other signed documents on its website showing that all but $1,230 was paid out in October in roughly equal amounts to attorneys for the Jena youths.
On the eve of the Sept. 20 civil rights march, Baisden advertised a book-signing and solicited cash donations for the Jena 6 families at a rally in Alexandria, La., but his business manager, Pamela Exum, declined to specify how much was collected or how the money was distributed.

Color of Change officials call Baisden’s broadcast comments slanderous and say they are contemplating legal action.

“We are trying to clear our good name,” said Mervyn Marcano, the group’s spokesman. “It’s distressing that right now the conversation around the Jena 6 is on a ‘Jenagate’ that doesn’t exist, not the actual issues of how justice is administered in that town.”

On Friday, after several prominent African American bloggers criticized Baisden for his comments, the radio host issued a statement apologizing to Color of Change “for not seeking more reliable sources.”

Civil rights groups report that donations to the Jena 6 defendants had already slowed to a trickle in recent weeks, as the story fell out of the national headlines and the complicated legal cases slowly made their way through the courts.

A spokesman for the NAACP, which collected nearly $20,000, including a $10,000 check from musician David Bowie, said it is winding down its Jena 6 fund and preparing to distribute the remaining cash to the attorneys for the six youths after deducting some of its own organizing expenses.

Black bloggers — this story is proof that we CAN make a difference even up against the seemingly overpowering voices on the air (with a little help from our friends). And dig:

NAACP: 500,000 members, almost $20,000 raised for Jena 6, 0% of funds disbursed to families and lawyers to date

Color of Change: 400,000 members, over $200,000 raised for Jena 6, 100% of funds disbursed to date

As African American Political Pundit points out, which of these organizations looks more competent, effective and credible in terms of black leadership to you?

The Black blogs helped to spread the word about Jena 6, keeping the story alive and encouraging folks to donate to Color of Change which has been in the trenches in Jena. Between black blogs and CoC — looks like there are some new leaders in the African American community. Ya betta recognize…

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