January 27, 2017
Today, after 3 years behind bars and 2 years of house detention, Marissa Alexander was finally released from state confinement. Marissa Alexander has been punished for over 5 years for defending her life from a domestic violence attack threatening her life nine days after she gave birth. The Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign is thrilled that we have finally made it to the day that we can say Marissa Alexander has her freedom. We are honored to share this statement from Marissa and her family: "We are grateful to God that this chapter of Marissa's life will come to a close on January 27, 2017. We are sincerely thankful and appreciative to all who rallied, supported and prayed for Marissa's release. As she enters a new chapter, with endless possibilities, we ask that you will continue to support Marissa through her non-profit organization that was established to end domestic violence and injustice in the criminal justice system, The Marissa Alexander Justice Project. Without you, today would not be possible. Thank you again and again."
Throughout her ordeal, Marissa Alexander has always emphasized the need to use her case to bring attention to the wider institutional patterns of criminalizing survivors. We celebrate her freedom today as a closure to a #SurvivedAndPunished week of action highlighting survivors of domestic and sexual violence who are criminalized, including Bresha Meadows in Ohio, Tondalao Hall in Oklahoma, Rasmea Odeh in Illinois, Kelly Savage in California, Alisha Walker in Illinois, Ky Peterson in Georgia, and Ny Nourn in California. These cases have very different contexts, but they all exemplify the reasons and ways survivors of violence are targeted by prosecutors. They are not alone. The vast majority of people in women’s prisons, and many in men’s prisons, are survivors of domestic and sexual violence before they are incarcerated. There is a crucial pipeline between abuse and prison/detention centers that must be disrupted.
The grassroots insurgency that freed Marissa Alexander was historic. It emerged in 2012, when Marissa was denied Stand Your Ground defense at the same time a jury used Stand Your Ground as a reason to acquit George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin. Marissa’s story, and therefore the connection between domestic violence and state violence, has always been part of the beginning of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. With the recent stunning defunding of VAWA funding for services and the massive build-up of criminalizing institutions, the Trump Administration has made it clear that it promotes both a pro-rape/domestic violence and a pro-criminalization politics. The connection between the political issues made so vivid by Marissa’s case is more powerful than ever. We must build coalitions and be relentless in our defense of survivors and their communities.
Since 2012, thousands of people all over the world REFUSED to accept the prosecution and punishment of Marissa Alexander. You wrote to prosecutor Angela Corey & Florida Governor Rick Scott urging them to drop the case, you fundraised over $100,000 to support Marissa’s legal defense fund, you organized community workshops & gatherings to spread the word, you engaged in direct actions in the streets and in front of courthouses, you wrote to Marissa to let her know she was not alone, you produced amazing works of art that spoke to the call for her freedom, you submitted organizational endorsements for her freedom, you sent heartfelt prayers, and you repeatedly boosted all forms of media to make sure your voices were heard. And our voices WERE HEARD. We believe that Angela Corey (now voted out) felt the pressure to offer Marissa another plea deal because you would not let up. We know that Marissa’s pro bono legal team got as far as they did because of the grassroots funds that supported their work. We saw Florida’s state congress pass reform legislation passed in response to Marissa’s case. And we saw an increase in defense campaigns for survivors all over the country. In short, Marissa Alexander was freed by your efforts of love and resistance that continue to make a difference. We at Free Marissa Now are overcome with gratitude.
To honor this important activism, we ask all people who did an action to help free Marissa Alexander to PLEASE FILL OUT THIS SURVEY so that organizers and survivors can learn and build from it in future movement building.
It’s impossible to name all of the individuals and organizations that were so key in the campaign to free Marissa. But we do want to send special shout outs to the whole Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign (consisting of reps from African American/Black Women’s Cultural Alliance, New Jim Crow-Jacksonville, Radical Women, and INCITE!), the Chicago Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander (now Love & Protect), SisterSong, all of the revolutionary groups in the Southern Movement Assembly, Black Women’s Blueprint, NAACP, New Voices of Pittsburgh, Methodist Church of South Carolina, Free Marissa East Bay, Pacific Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander, Sistahs Talkin Back, Church of the Advocate, and many, many, MANY others!
We also want to send love to our comrades at Survived & Punished: Stand With Nan-Hui, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, and Love & Protect. With them and our growing team, we will continue to organize for the end of gender violence and criminalization.
Finally, we’re excited to announce Marissa Alexander’s new project: The Marissa Alexander Justice Project! Marissa is an amazing leader and we look forward to building in solidarity with her.
Thank you very, very much for your love & solidarity. There are so many more survivors to free and so much more work to do. Let’s keep going!
Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign
The Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign supports Marissa Alexander’s self-determination to make the best choices she can while navigating the violent and impossible circumstances created by her abusive husband, Angela Corey, and Florida’s judicial system. The plea deal is a relief in some ways, but this is far from a victory. The deal will help Marissa and her family avoid yet another very expensive and emotionally exhausting trial that could have led to the devastating ruling of spending the rest of her life in prison. Marissa’s children, family, and community need her to be free as soon as possible. However, the absurdity in Marissa’s case was always the fact that the courts punished and criminalized her for surviving domestic violence, for saving her own life. The mandatory minimum sentences of 20 years, and then 60 years, just made the state’s prosecution increasingly shocking. But we have always believed that forcing Marissa to serve even one day in prison represents a profound and systemic attack on black women’s right to exist and all women’s right to self-defense.
We want to underscore the fact that Marissa has been able to avoid spending the rest of her life in prison directly because of all that you have done. Your critical actions to keep her name in the public's consciousness, your fundraisers and generous donations that raised over $100,000 in one year, and your consistent outpouring of support have been crucial ingredients that have gotten Marissa this far. You helped halt a crisis that seemed to just grow bigger by the day. Thank you so very, very much.
The campaign intends to keep going until Marissa is free! It is vital that we keep the momentum of our support and love going until Marissa is restored to her family and community. Marissa has been consistent in her self-advocacy, including defending her life when attacked by her husband, rejecting a punishing three year plea deal offered to her in 2012, and taking the plea offered to her today. As difficult as it is to see Marissa unjustly sent back to prison, her supporters around the world stand with her. We are standing our ground that women have the right to defend themselves from violence, and that black women’s lives matter.
Follow the Free Marissa Now campaign on our website, facebook, twitter, tumblr, and e-mail listserv for updates. In the meantime, we are continuing to fundraise for Marissa Alexander because she will continue to face legal expenses. For example, she will be forced to pay for the ankle monitor the state will force her to wear during her 2-year probation. That alone will cost $26,000. We will have a report about the enormous costs she's sustained to date and how you've helped cover them soon. For now, we are raising the goal of this fundraiser to $50,000.
We are in solidarity with the amazing uprisings against police violence and mass incarceration happening around the country. We want to keep Marissa's name and the names of all black women whose lives have been impacted by police, court, and prison violence at the forefront of these important actions. Thank you for your ongoing powerful support of Marissa Alexander, movements to end mass incarceration and domestic violence, women's right to self-defense, and black women's right to a safe and joyful existence!
Dear Marissa Alexander supporters,
CONGRATULATIONS! Yet again, Marissa Alexander's supporters have reached a crucial fundraising goal! You have raised another $40,000 for the Marissa Alexander Legal Defense Fund. Words can not describe how much gratitude Marissa and her family and friends have for the outpouring of support. Your donations, letters, and actions have been truly incredible. THANK YOU SO MUCH! A report on all that the Freedom Fundraiser has accomplished will be coming this week.
A special shout out goes to the fantastic Chicago Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander who, through the #FreeMarissa store and other fundraisers, have raised nearly $16,000 this year! Visit the store to pick up some beautiful items: https://www.zibbet.com/FreeMarissaAlexander
People have really dug deep and given what they can, from $5 to $5,000! Folks have created t-shirts, music, art, and community projects that have steered the conversation towards the importance of the issues in this case -- women's right to self-defense, the violence of racism and sexism against black women in their homes and in the courts, devastation caused by mandatory minimums and the prison system, and the systemic criminalization of domestic violence survivors. Your passion for supporting Marissa and other women incarcerated for navigating the conditions of domestic and sexual violence has shone brightly in this campaign since Marissa received that guilty verdict and 20 year sentence in 2012. There's no way that she would have gotten this far without your consistent love, rage, and commitment.
Again, we'll have a bigger report about where we go from here later this week. You are welcome to continue to donate to this fundraiser until then! Every donation is crucial for winning the freedom for Marissa Alexander!
Thank you and much love,
Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign
Dear Supporters of Marissa Alexander,
Thank you for your ongoing, crucial support of Marissa Alexander’s freedom! We have a few BIG updates:
Thank you for your all you do to support Marissa and all survivors of domestic violence! E-mail us if you want to get in touch at [email protected], or connect with us at “freemarissanow” on facebook, twitter, and tumblr. All updates can be found at freemarissanow.org.
Free Marissa Now