Facing South contributor Bill Quigley recently brought us the shocking story of a group of African-American teens who are facing harsh criminal penalties for lashing out against racist terrorism in Jena, La.

The trouble began last December when white students hung three nooses from a tree where Jena High School's white students gathered after several blacks dared to sit under it. The white students who hung the nooses received only a three-day suspension, which led to an escalation of racial tensions at the school. After a white student allegedly taunted blacks with the "N" word, he was beaten up by black students, six of whom were arrested.

One of those arrested -- 16-year-old Mychal Bell -- was convicted as an adult by an all-white jury of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated second-degree battery for his role in the beating. Bell's public defender called no witnesses and failed to challenge the makeup of the jury pool. With his sentencing set for July 31, Bell faces the possibility of up to 22 years in prison.

The NAACP, which is involved in Bell's defense, is now collecting signatures on a petition to Louisiana's governor and attorney general calling for a new trial for Bell and justice for the six arrested teens. To add your name to it, click here.