Standing Our Ground week – In Support of Marissa Alexander

marissaalexanderFlying Over Walls stands in solidarity with Marissa Alexander and the Standing Our Ground Week, a celebration of exercising our civil and human dignity rights.  Hundreds of national members and organizations collaborating with Free Marissa Now will attend week-long festivities in Jacksonville from Friday, July 25, 2014 until Friday, August 1, 2014.

Please join us in Oakland this Wednesday, as we discuss her case, send postcards, and raise money to send to the organizations offering her direct support.

So many are already in support of her and we cannot possibly speak more eloquently, so we have included statements of solidarity below:

 

SOLIDARITY STATEMENTS

Below is a list of powerful statements sent by individuals and organizations who stand in solidarity with Marissa Alexander and demand her freedom. Send your statement to freemarissanow@gmail.com!

There are times when one woman represents all. Today it is Marissa Alexander who represents those millions of women who every day face continued violence from a brutal husband or partner, who seek desperately for ways to save their children and themselves, who do not want violence in their lives but must do something to defend themselves and their families. For the sake of all of us, the state of Florida must honor her appeal and set Marissa Alexander free.
     – Suzanne Pharr, anti-violence and racial justice community organizer and strategist, political educator, trainer, speaker, and writer


Especially in light of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin, we must mobilize to end the injustice of the criminal legal system and it’s targeting of Black women and men. The lack of protection for those who are victimized and the unchallenged systemic violence in both of these cases is a call to action. The movement to end domestic violence must include a demand for Marissa Alexander’s freedom from prison.
     –  Beth E. Richie, veteran black feminist anti-violence activist and scholar, and author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation


Marissa Alexander has suffered a profound injustice, one that makes a mockery of the criminal justice system in Florida. George Zimmerman – who had a history of violence – was allowed to walk free after “standing his ground” and killing an innocent, unarmed black teenager. By contrast, Marissa Alexander, an African American mother from Jacksonville, Florida, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot in a desperate attempt to halt an attack by her abusive husband. Alexander had no prior arrests, was licensed to carry a gun, and had a restraining order against her husband. And unlike George Zimmerman, she harmed no one. Her husband wasn’t even injured. She simply fired a warning shot to try to protect herself and deter an attack by her husband. Yet despite the restraining order she had obtained and the history of domestic violence, Marissa was denied a self-defense plea under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Her twenty-year sentence shocks the conscience, and speaks volumes about the extent to which racism and sexism have warped Florida’s justice system. The time is overdue to end Jim and Jane Crow justice in Florida. Marissa Alexander should be set free now.
   – Michelle Alexander, author of the book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness


Instead of protecting women in our communities, particularly from domestic violence, women are subjected to unjust policies that result in more barriers to their safety and well-being, as well as that of their families.  Mandatory arrest policies and deportation programs like Secure Communities do not recognize the intersectional realities that women of color and immigrant women face.  These policies and programs often do more harm than good in terms of protecting survivors of domestic violence, who are simultaneously overpoliced and underprotected.  Women of color are more likely to be arrested or detained themselves for acts of self-defense that are interpreted from a viewpoint of stereotypes and seen as aggression.

Therefore, it is vital that we call attention to the plight of Marissa Alexander as she awaits her new trail. We call on our partners, our allies, and our communities to be vocal and visible in supporting Marissa, and joining the call for the State of Florida to drop the charges against her. We call for the development of transformative community-based responses to violence as alternatives to current criminal systems that continue to harm our communities. We urge you to join us and mobilize towards the vision of a community free from all forms of violence.

– API Chaya, anti-domestic violence organization in Seattle that serves API and South Asian survivors; full statement here


 The treatment of Marissa Alexander is a consequence of the growing crisis of prisons and policing in the US as well as a product of anti-black racism and sexism which drives individuals and institutions to punish black women when they defend themselves from violence. Her case is one of many that shows us how black women and other marginalized people are especially likely to be blamed and criminalized while trying to navigate and survive the conditions of violence in their lives.  We call all members of anti-violence, reproductive justice, and anti-police/prison movements and our allies to also support the call to Free Marissa Alexander!
– INCITE! Women of Color & Trans People of Color Against Violence; full statement here


Women of all races who fight back against abuse find little sympathy from police, courts, or media. The Battered Woman Syndrome defense, which has been successfully used in court to justify why a woman killed or took action against an abuser, is often denied to Black women. The racist and sexist double standard exists at every level of U.S. society. Radical Women demands the immediate release and pardon of Marissa Alexander and an end to race and sex discrimination in the criminal justice system. In addition, Radical Women calls for massive increases in funding for jobs, aid to families, and shelters and services for everyone fleeing domestic violence regardless of their sexual orientation or immigration status.
– Radical Women; full statement here


As much as the system has tried to break her, we know Marissa stands unwavering. Like so many survivors, she is tenacious in spirit. She is made of courage and conviction. We know she has not lost hope and has not given up. We have not and will not give up either. We will remain steadfast in our fight for Marissa until justice is served and she rightfully returns where she belongs… to her home, her children, her family, and her community.
– Miami Workers Center/Sisterhood of Survivors; full statement here

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