I have previously written a post about black women and girls whose stories have largely been erased out of the mainstream media circuit where stories featuring black boys and men like Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis seem to be privileged. While I am grateful that Martin and Davis’ stories are told and people rally behind them, black women are routinely excluded and dismissed as people who are worth organizing activist efforts for.
According to the Marissa Alexander Freedom Fundraising website [which you should all contribute to if you have the means to do so]:
Marissa Alexander is an African American mother of three and survivor of domestic violence from Jacksonville, FL. In 2010, she fired a single warning shot upwards into a wall to defend herself from a life-threatening beating from her estranged husband. Despite the fact that Marissa caused no injuries and has no previous criminal record, and despite the fact that Florida’s self-defense law includes the right to “Stand Your Ground,” she was subsequently arrested, prosecuted, and sentenced to 20 years in prison. In September 2013, Marissa Alexander won her appeal, her guilty verdict was overturned, and she secured the right to a new trial which is scheduled for July 28, 2014. She is currently under house arrest, but Prosecutor Angela Corey announced that she’s pursuing a tripled sentence of 60 years in prison if Marissa is found guilty in her upcoming trial.
The “Stand Your Ground” law came under intense scrutiny after the slaying of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. His killer, George Zimmerman, claimed to stand his ground even though he followed and stalked Trayvon through his neighborhood. For some reason though, Alexander faces the risk of being punished even though she never harmed anyone and was experiencing a beating.
To help raise funds for Alexander’s legal defense, Prison Culture is releasing 150 copies of “No Selves to Defend: A Legacy of Criminalizing Women of Color for Self Defense.” According to Colorlines, “The book will feature the Alexander’s incarceration story along with those of Lena Baker, Inez Garcia, Rosa Lee Ingram, Joan Little, Cece McDonald, the New Jersey 4, Cassandra Peten, Bernadette Powell, Juanita Thomas, Yvonne Wanrow and Dessie Woods.”
The book will be available to purchase in early June for $50 at the Free Marissa online store. It’s important that we support women of color who end up suffering from the prison industrial complex because they defended themselves. We have to help protect our women and girls since the justice system is incapable of doing that.