Marissa Alexander will be Prosecuted Again for Defending Herself

Free Marissa AlexanderMarissa Alexander, the African-American mother from Florida serving a 20-year sentence for self-defense, will had a status hearing today. In case you’re not familiar with her case, Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot to stop an attack by her abusive husband — but was not allowed to use Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law to support her defense. The Free Marissa Now campaign, which has built an international support movement for Ms. Alexander has released the statement below. Spread the word about this domestic violence travesty.

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Date: October 31, 2013
From: Free Marissa Now
Contact: FreeMarissaNow@gmail.com
Aleta Alston-Touré 904-631-1674

For Immediate Release

Statement to the Press

 Marissa Alexander will be Prosecuted Again for Defending Herself:

The Free Marissa Now Movement Vows to Keep Organizing until Marissa is Free

 Once again, State Attorney Angela Corey has decided to prosecute Marissa Alexander for defending herself from her abusive ex-husband, despite the fact that the original guilty verdict was overturned, and despite the fact that Marissa injured no one when she fired a warning shot and has no criminal record. At the status hearing today in Jacksonville, a bond was scheduled for November 8th and a new trial was set for March 31, 2014.

Marissa Alexander, an African American mother of three, has been victimized twice — once by her abusive ex-husband and again by the state of Florida, which has stolen nearly three years from her life for an act of self-defense that injured no one. While the Free Marissa Now mobilization campaign is deeply disappointed in the on-going targeting of this survivor of domestic violence by prosecutors, we remain steadfast and more committed than ever to keep organizing until we see Marissa Alexander freed from prison.

We stand with all of the thousands of incredible supporters who have written letters, organized teach-ins, created art, marched, made phone calls, made signs, tabled, sang songs, endorsed the call, written poetry, produced videos, debated haters, blogged, prayed, made donations, rallied in public and meditated in private. Your raised voices continue to be the key ingredient to secure Marissa Alexander’s freedom because you refuse to let this violence stay invisible, which it is for so many people who are abused behind closed doors and disappeared into prisons.

Our work in the Free Marissa Now campaign has brought broad awareness of how black women and other marginalized people are likely to be criminalized, prosecuted, and incarcerated while trying to navigate and survive the conditions of violence in their lives. Domestic violence survivors are frequently deprived of sympathy and solidarity, particularly if they fight back.

This is especially true for black women who are criminalized and subjected to racist stereotypes that paint them as overly aggressive and unworthy. In fact, black women face a disproportionate share of fatal domestic violence in America, according to the new Violence Policy Center (VPC) report When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2011 Homicide Data. In 2011, 492 black females were murdered by males at a rate of 2.61 per 100,000, compared to a rate of 0.99 per 100,000 for white females.  Where the relationship could be determined, 94 percent of black females killed by males knew their killers.

The systemic injustice of Florida’s mandatory minimum sentencing system is being fully exposed as a mechanism leading to the mass incarceration of black people, other people of color, and poor people. Mass incarceration must be dismantled.. Transformative strategies to end domestic and sexual violence — including community organizing; culturally specific services to prevent violence; community-based efforts to promote accountability, healing, and redress; and efforts to achieve economic justice — must be meaningfully engaged in order for our communities to achieve real safety.

Marissa is no longer guilty in the eyes of the law, but she is still in prison. We demand that the state of Florida release her on personal recognizance immediately. Also, now that Marissa and her family face another trial, we will pivot to a major fundraising push for the rest of the year to help cover extensive legal costs. Marissa’s outstanding legal team is working pro bono, but there are still costs to cover such as flying in expert witnesses to testify, collecting and processing evidence, etc. We intend to raise $10,000 by the end of the year.

Finally, we call on feminist organizations, racial justice and civil rights organizations, and other social justice advocates to bring strong support and resources for this fight. We call on anti-violence advocates everywhere to fearlessly defend those survivors who are targeted by police, prosecution, and prisons. We need your support more than ever in this next phase of the movement to free Marissa Alexander.

Our movement is strong and we will keep going! We have a trial to help win and we will continue to organize for the end of domestic violence and mass incarceration.

Free Marissa Now is a grassroots campaign led by a core of organizers representing the African American/Black Women’s Cultural Alliance, New Jim Crow Movement – Jacksonville, Radical Women, INCITE!, Southern Freedom Movement, and the Pacific Northwest Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander. To arrange an interview, please contact FreeMarissaNow@gmail.com or call 904-631-1674 (Jacksonville), 443-812-9503, (Washington, DC area), 206-473-0630 (Seattle)