Friday, July 18, 2014


It is Prison Friday and...

As Project NIA writes:

In the words of writer Mychal Denzel Smith, “Marissa Alexander was just trying to save her life” when she was assaulted and threatened (again) by her estranged husband. When she retrieved a gun and fired a warning shot in self-defense, she could not have imagined being convicted and sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison. Yet we know from history that too often women who protect themselves from unrelenting violence are criminalized.

‘No Selves to Defend’ features the stories of women of color who have been criminalized for self-defense. The exhibition examines the contested meanings and historical and contemporary understandings of self-defense. It seeks to locate Marissa Alexander’s story within a broader historical context and legacy. The exhibition also addresses the campaigns and mobilizations that emerged to resist their criminalization and demand their freedom. Finally, it considers how we can support current survivors of violence who have been criminalized for self-defense.

The exhibition which opens today in Chicago  is organized by Project NIA, Chicago Taskforce on Violence against Girls and Young Women and the Chicago Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander. It is co-curated by Rachel Caidor and Mariame Kaba

There is more.  A series of events will take place to raise awareness about Marissa’s case, to learn about the historical context of the case, and to take action.
July 18, 6 to 9 p.m. – Opening Reception for No Selves To Defend Exhibition at Art in These Times, 2nd floor of 2040 N Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60647 USA. Details are HERE. Facebook event page here.
July 18 through September 21 – at Art in These Times – No Selves To Defend: An Exhibition about the Criminalization of Women of Color
July 19, 1 to 4:30 p.m. Free Screening of Crime After Crime – Join us for a screening and discussion of the film Crime After Crime. Roosevelt University, 425 S. Wabash Ave, Room 418. RSVP to – Facebook event page here.
July 25, 5:30 p.m.Sticks and Stones and Stories – Storytelling for Self and Survival. Storytelling to fight back. Storytelling in Solidarity
The more we are injured by oppressive institutions and trauma in our lives, the more we are identified by the stories told about us, and not the stories we share about ourselves. This event is about sharing personal experiences of forcible displacement. That can happen through incarceration, deportation, detention, eviction, or other systems that exist to confine us to a single identity: criminal, unfit, illegal, homeless, invisible. We can fight that violence against us. We can share something about our lives and how we see ourselves, and find love and support in the process. That solidarity makes us infinitely more powerful, unstoppable, and ready to fight back! Join us.
What: Story Sharing Event plus Dinner
Where: 114 N Aberdeen, Chicago
When: Friday, July 25, 5:30 pm
This event is co-organized by Chicago Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander, Black on Both Sides, Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration. Contact Holly for more info: 630-258-8552,
July 26, 2 p.m.A Community Gathering and Rally in Support of Marissa in solidarity with Stand Our Ground Week of Action. We invite all community members to join us in song, performance, poetry and more. This is a family-friendly event. More details to come.
Find all upcoming events here.

In Jacksonville, Florida:

  • FRIDAY, JULY 25:
    Registration & Opening Ceremony
    Logistical details here; Crowne Plaza Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel, 1201 Riverplace Boulevard
    SisterSong Reproductive Justice Institute & Southern Freedom Alliance/ National Youth Bill of Rights Youth-Led Assembly
    Logistical details here; Crowne Plaza Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel, 1201 Riverplace Boulevard
  • SUNDAY, JULY 27Beach Day for Youth; VIP Legal Defense Fund Benefit; Waterfront Benefit Concert to Free Marissa Alexander
    Concert at Waterfront Jacksonville Landing, 2 Independent Dr (time TBA)
  • MONDAY, JULY 28March from CROWNE PLAZA Hotel to Duval County Courthouse - meet at 1201 Riverplace Boulevard, march to 501 W Adams St (time TBA)
    Southern Movement Assembly (SMA) at Courthouse (time TBA)
    Verbal Essence Poetry Night (location/time TBA)
    12pm - 2pm: 
    Book reading of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America's Prison Nation by author, Prof. Beth Richie
    Chamblin Uptown, 215 N Laura St
    3 pm: Forum on the Women's Movement and Social Change, featuring Prof. Beth Richie, author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America's Prison NationDowntown Jacksonville Library, 303 N. Laura Street
  • WEDNESDAY, JULY 30: Forum on Prison Industrial Complex and Mass Incarceration
    Milne Auditorium, Edward Waters College, Grunthal St. & W. 5th St. (time TBA)
  • THURSDAY, JULY 31Civil Rights Law & Community Legal Support
    Milne Auditorium, Edward Waters College, Grunthal St. & W. 5th St. (time TBA)
    Evening Jazz, Ritz Theatre and Museum, 829 N Davis St (time TBA)
  • FRIDAY, AUGUST 1Court Watch at Marissa Alexander's hearing
    Duval County Courthouse, 501 W Adams St (time TBA)

Organize in Your Communities:

If you can't make it to Jacksonville or Chicago, we encourage you to raise your voices in your own community!  Supporters of Marissa Alexander have done incredible actions to make sure that her name is not forgotten.  This week of action is the BIG PUSH!  We need you to really raise your voices when her trial begins so that everyone knows what's happening and why it's important that Marissa is free!

POSSIBLE PROJECTS:Find resources here to support your local action!
  • Direct Actions: rallies, marches, let's get seen!  Rally in parks, in front of courthouses in your community, table in the community to share information about the case and the urgent issues around it.
  • Participate in #SelfiesForSelfDefense online activism!
  • Media action: write op/eds, share updates on social media, blog about it, urge local media shows to cover the trial and the movement to free Marissa.
  • Organize forums, panels, or workshops about mass incarceration and domestic violence.  
  • Do a fundraiser for the Marissa Alexander Legal Defense Fund!
  • Host a letter-writing get together to write letters to Marissa to let her know you support her freedom.
  • Create art!  Visual art, videos, music, everything is welcome to get the word out beautifully!

If you're organizing an event in solidarity with Standing Our Ground Week of Action, let us know!  We want to connect your group with what's going on in Jacksonville via phone or web during the week.  We'd love to share photos or video of your action!  Stay in touch


Show your support for Marissa Alexander, a black mother of three and survivor of domestic violence from Florida who is being threatened with 60 years in prison for defending her life! 


  1. Take a selfie that includes a photo of you holding a supportive message to Marissa like the ones in the gallery below. Make your own or download this pre-made sign.
  2. During July 25-Aug 1, post your selfie on twitter, facebook,& tumblr! Use hashtag #SelfiesForSelfDefense.
    You can also send it to us @freemarissanow on twitter or post so we can help share your selfie.
    Free Marissa Now will print out the selfies and mail them to Marissa Alexander at the end of the week.
  3. E-mail your photo to the following addresses & let them know you want Florida to DROP THE CASE against Marissa Alexander:

July 25-Aug 1: Standing Our Ground Week of Action
Standing Our Ground Week of Action is a major mobilization of support for Marissa Alexander in Jacksonville, FL and other communities who will stand our ground to demand the end of domestic violence, mass incarceration, and reproductive violence.  On August 1st, Marissa Alexander will learn from a judge if he will grant her a new Stand Your Ground hearing. More ways to take action can be found HERE!
  • Latest status of Marissa's case, as of June 21, 2014: Currently, Marissa is still under home detention, awaiting two dates: August 1st, when Judge James Daniel is expected to rule if she gets another Stand Your Ground (SYG) hearing, and December 8th, when the trial is scheduled to begin if there is still a need for a trial. If she doesn't get SYG immunity and is found guilty in a new trial, State Attorney Angela Corey wants to sentence Marissa to a mandatory 60 years in prison.  More info about possible ways her case could unfold can be found here.

Free Marissa Now is an alliance of organizations and activists working to free Marissa Alexander.  The core organizing team includes members from African-American/Black Women's Cultural Alliance,New Jim Crow MovementRadical Women and Pacific Northwest Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander, and INCITE!.  The Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign engages people in the US and all around the world with projects that help support the call to free Marissa Alexander and organize towards ending domestic violence and mass incarceration.  The campaign includes:

Contact us for more info about the campaign and how to get involved.
Thanks for all this to Free Marissa Now

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