Date: July 23, 2014
From: Aleta Alston-Toure’ — 904-631-6019
Alisa Bierria — 650-799-7741
For Release: Immediately….Notice to the Media
Free Marissa Now and thousands of Marissa Alexander’s supporters around the world are strongly disappointed that the Florida courts on July 18 denied Marissa a fair hearing to support her right to self-defense under Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws. Yet again, Florida refuses to free this survivor of domestic violence and undermines women’s right to self defense, though it failed to convict two white men for the murder of two innocent black teen boys. It appears that Florida courts place less value on a young black mother’s fear in the midst of a life-threatening attack and more value on the anger and unsupported fear of two white men.
Nine days after a premature birth, Marissa Alexander harmed no one when she fired a warning shot to stop another life-threatening attack by her estranged husband. She faces possibly sixty years in prison as a result of prosecution by the state of Florida. Is Marissa being used as an example?
Incarceration happens more frequently when black people are convicted of crimes, but women of color who are victims of domestic violence serve more time for self-defense. Female incarceration rates show 78% of inmates are Black and Latina and most women in prison have been victims of abuse. This should not happen to anyone. Mass incarceration of women is a lucrative business at the stake of women’s lives and the well-being of families.
Date: July 8, 2014
Text by Alisa Bierria (650-799-7741) and Aleta Alston-Toure (904-631-1674)
Hundreds of regional and national activists will come together in Jacksonville, Florida from Friday, July 25 through Friday, August 1 to support embattled domestic violence survivor Marissa Alexander, build awareness about domestic violence and reproductive justice, and strengthen opposition to mandatory minimum sentencing. “STANDING OUR GROUND Against Reproductive Oppression, Gender Violence, and Mass Incarceration” is envisioned by organizers as a celebration, an exercise of civil rights, and a call for human dignity. The date marks the one year anniversary of the verdict exonerating George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin and connects to the August 1 hearing where Alexander will argue for Stand Your Ground protection. Participants are linking the call to free Marissa Alexander with Florida-based movements for justice for Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and others.
The week will feature noted speakers, educational panels, workshops, cultural events, and community outreach. An opening ceremony will launch the activities on Friday, July 25. On Friday and Saturday, the national SisterSong Reproductive Justice Institute will hold panels and training workshops. Saturday will also feature a Youth Assembly. Sunday is highlighted by a benefit concert for the Marissa Alexander Legal Defense Fund. On Monday, there will be a march from the SisterSong conference to the Duval County Courthouse. Tuesday will feature a keynote discussion by University of Illinois Professor Beth Richie, author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence and America’s Prison Nation, followed by a panel of local and national feminists and leaders in the movement for women’s safety. Wednesday will take on the issues of police brutality and wrongful imprisonment with a panel of speakers organizing on these issues. On Thursday, legal experts will conduct community training to inform people about their rights under the law. The day will end with a candlelight vigil. Throughout the week, activists will also take part in a People’s Investigation where they will bring their concerns and questions to organizations and institutions of power on the local, state and national level. Times and locations are being finalized.
From: Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign
Contact: Helen Gilbert – 206-473-0630
The Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign is calling for a week of action from February 8-16 to draw attention to Marissa Alexander’s case and other criminalized survivors of domestic violence. Marissa Alexander is the African American mother from Jacksonville, Florida who received a 20-year sentence for firing a warning shot to stop an attack by her abusive, estranged husband. No one was harmed in the incident. The case has become a rallying point for opponents of domestic violence and mass incarceration.
February 10th, the third anniversary of the day Alexander entered prison, is being marked by the launching of the Free Marissa DJ project (www.freemarissanow.org/free-marissa-dj.html). The public is invited to dedicate a song to the cause of justice for Alexander and ending domestic violence and mass incarceration. Donors can contribute at http://igg.me/at/freemarissa2, then post a link to a music video, a quote from their chosen song, or a video of themselves singing the song at facebook.com/FreeMarissaNow.
Free Marissa Now hopes to raise $30,000 for Alexander’s legal fund by early March. The cost for Alexander’s new trial, scheduled for July 28, is expected to be over $250,000.
Court Upholds Marissa Alexander’s Bond Release;
Activists Call for Angela Corey to Stop Harassment
Today, the court upheld Marissa Alexander’s bond release, which means she is allowed to continue her house arrest and remain with her children and family until her new trial begins on March 31st. State Prosecutor Angela Corey filed a motion alleging that Marissa Alexander broke the conditions of her release by making unauthorized trips outside her home. Yet, Alexander’s legalteam presented proof that the Correctional Service Counselor who supervised Alexander’s house arrest authorized every trip listed in the State’s motion and the Counselor asserts that Alexander is not in violation of her release.