I am overwhelmed with happiness over the support that Marissa Alexander continues to receive. In 2010, after firing a warning shot to ward off her abusive husband, Alexander is now facing 60 years in prison. Her August 1st trial is drawing near and activists will be banning together in Jacksonville, Florida from Friday, July 25 through Friday, August 1 to offer their support, 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” will be a celebration, an exercise of civil rights and a call for human dignity and 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.
Alexander’s warning shot caused no injuries, but she was found guilty of aggravated assault and served 33 months of a mandatory 20-year sentence before a Florida appeals court overturned the guilty verdict. State Prosecutor Angela Corey has chosen to re-prosecute Alexander, this time threatening a mandatory 60-year sentence.
Participants in the “Standing Our Ground Against Reproductive Oppression, Gender Violence and Mass Incarceration” are linking the call to free Marissa Alexander with Florida-based movements for justice for Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and others. Through the week of support, there will be many noted speakers, educational panels, workshops, cultural events and community outreach. 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.
Local and national leaders of the Free Marissa Now mobilization campaign are partnering with New Jim Crow Movement – Jacksonville, SisterSong, INCITE!, African American/Black Women’s Cultural Alliance, Radical Women, Project South, Resist, Highlander Research Center, and National Congress of Black Women to organize the week of events. National supporters of Marissa Alexander in other cities will also take action during the week to build awareness about ending domestic violence and mass incarceration, and supporting all women’s right to self-defense. Participants will take part through daily live-streaming of Jacksonville events and through Facebook and Twitter updates, and a Selfies for Self-Defense campaign. Times and locations are being finalized.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s going to be happening through the week:
Friday July 25:
Feature of the national SisterSong Reproductive Justice Institute, who will hold panels and training workshops.
Saturday, July 26:
Feature a Youth Assembly
Sunday, July 27:
Benefit concert for the Marissa Alexander Legal Defense Fund
Monday, July 28:
March from the SisterSong conference to the Duval County Courthouse
Tuesday, July 29:
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, July 30:
Panel of speakers will take on the issues of police brutality and wrongful imprisonment with
Thursday, July 31:
Legal experts will conduct community training to inform people about their rights under the law and the day will end with a candlelight vigil.
Friday, August 1:
Participants will attend a hearing on whether Marissa Alexander can argue for immunity from prosecution under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.
It’s a beautiful thing to see so much support and organization around Marissa Alexander’s tragic trial. Here’s hoping it’s enough to help justice be served and keep her out or prison.