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Survivor of Domestic Violence Gets 20 Years

October 4, 2012

BY MARGARET VIGGIANI

Freedom Socialist, Vol. 33, No. 4,
August-September 2012, socialism.com

In August 2010, only nine days after giving birth, Marissa Alexander fired a warning shot into the kitchen ceiling of her home in Jacksonville, Fla., to fend off her abusive estranged husband. Alexander is a young Black mother of three.

The jury deliberated 12 minutes before convicting Alexander of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — even though her husband had previously hospitalized her, she had no prior criminal record, and no one was injured.

On May 11, 2012, a judge rejected Alexander’s “stand your ground” defense and sentenced her to 20 years under Florida’s mandatory minimum sentencing rules. As is so often true for abused women, especially those of color, the “justice system” proved to be anything but.

Outraged supporters around the country, including Radical Women (RW), are organizing rallies, vigils, and letter campaigns. Seattle RW wrote a statement and has collected hundreds of signatures on a petition demanding Alexander’s release. The statement and a link to an online petition can be found at www.radicalwomen.org.

In June, Friends of Marissa Alexander organized a Freedom Rally and Motorcycle Ride to raise awareness and funds. And on July 13, the Jacksonville NAACP chapter held a rally in defense of Alexander and victims of domestic abuse.

In a letter thanking RW for its support, Alexander wrote that she is “Keeping my head up!” To help build a big, visible, and determined fight for her pardon and release, go to Justice4Marissa.com.

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