Greetings. My name is Thandi Chimurenga and I am a Los Angeles-based independent journalist seeking assistance to cover the re-trial of Marissa Alexander in December in Florida. Most stories of Black womens' lives are disappeared in the media. We are constantly reminded of the murders of Black men and boys at the hands of white racists, whether they pose as law enforcement or as individuals - and we should be reminded of it; but we must also acknowledge that Black women are not safe either. The criminalization of Marissa Alexander in Florida is a case in point. Marissa Alexander was not gunned down in the ways that Renisha McBride, Aiyana Jones or Rekia Boyd were. She was not stomped to death like Aleasia Thomas was. She was not left to die on a dirty jail cell floor writhing in agony the way Anna Brown was. Marissa Alexander was trying not to become another Black woman death statistic and for that, the State of Florida wants to sentence her to 60 years in prison.
In 2012, Marissa was sentenced to 20 years in prison for defending herself from her abusive estranged husband; nine days after giving birth prematurely, she fired a single warning shot upwards into a wall to halt her estranged husband, Rico Gray, during a life-threatening beating. Gray has a documented history of domestic violence twice against Marissa and has admitted being violent toward other women he was previously involved with. In a sworn statement Gray admitted that he was the agressor against Marissa, that he threatened her life, and “was so enraged that he did not know what he would do.”
Despite the fact that Marissa had no prior criminal record and her warning shot caused no injuries the state of Florida believes this Black woman had no right to self-defense or to stand her ground. Although Marissa successfully appealed the 2012 verdict, State Attorney Angela Corey is prosecuting Marissa again, this time threatening her with a 60-year prison sentence. On December 8, 2014, Marissa Alexander will once again be forced to defend her life.
It is possible that both local and national mainstream media outlets will cover this case. If they don't it once again exemplifies the invisibility and erasure of Black women. If they do cover the trial, what lens will be used? What frame will be employed? In other words, if this Black woman's story is made visible, how will it be seen?
Independent, Black-woman centered reporting and analysis of the facts is what will be needed for this trial. That is what I bring to the table. Attending the trial everyday, providing live tweets of the courtroom happenings as well as daily updates and reporting, as well as special reporting (webinar/Google hangout) will bring the information - the facts - of this case to the public.
Black Agenda Report (WEB)
Race for the Times (WEB)
LA Progressive (WEB)
San Francisco BayView Newspaper (WEB/PRINT)
WomanSpeak Radio (WRFG, ATLANTA, GA)
I Mix What I Like Radio (WPFW, WASHINGTON, DC)
HardKnock Radio (KPFA, BERKELEY, CA)