Marissa Alexander Released!

Black woman in prison garb

Stop the legal lynching by Florida's mandatory minimum sentencing laws of an African American domestic violence survivor

As battered women often discover, the system that should protect them is frequently their worst enemy.

Marissa Alexander, a 31-year-old African American mother of three living in Jacksonville, Florida, tried to follow the rules. She had a restraining order against her estranged husband, who had a record of abuse toward Alexander and other women. She had a legally licensed gun and had never been arrested. In August 2010, only nine days after having given birth, Alexander fired a warning shot into the wall of her house when her husband threatened her life. For this, a Florida jury convicted her of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after only 12 minutes of deliberation. 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. Stand-your-ground laws permit a person to use force in self-defense if they believe they are in serious threat of harm.

According to a number of studies, African American women suffer higher levels of domestic abuse than any other ethnic group, most likely as a result of the stresses of poverty and discrimination. Black women are murdered by their partners at a rate three times that of white women. Jobless or low-paid, with a well-earned distrust of the criminal justice system, and a history of discrimination from health and social service institutions, abused women of color often have few resources to draw upon.

White and Black women carrying Free Marissa banner
Rainier Valley Heritage Parade, 8/18/12

Women of all races who fight back against abuse find little sympathy from police, courts, or media. In states where police are mandated to make an arrest in domestic violence situations, arrests of women have risen dramatically. Women are now nearly 20% of domestic violence arrests although men are acknowledged to commit 95% of the abuse. Black feminist Sharon Allard has observed that 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. Why? Because the stereotype of Black women as "domineering, assertive, hostile and immoral" hinders a judge's or juror's ability to believe that a Black woman acted in self-defense. According to Allard, Black women are twice as likely as white women to be convicted for murdering abusive husbands.

The racist and sexist double standard exists at every level of U.S. society. It took a national outcry for the killer of African American teenager Trayvon Martin to be arrested after he invoked Florida's "stand-your-ground" law. Meanwhile, Congress is balking at reauthorizing the federal Violence Against Women Act, in part because the act contains new provisions that would help protect queers, Native Americans and immigrants.

Radical Women demands the immediate release and pardon of Marissa Alexander, passage of a strengthened Violence Against Women Act, and an end to race and sex discrimination in the criminal justice system, including an end to mandatory minimum sentencing. 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.

-- National Radical Women, June 5, 2012

Group with Free Marissa sign
Seattle Radical Women meeting, 8/2/12

Marissa Alexander free from house arrest -- 1/27/17

Marissa Alexander released!

Marissa's 1/27/15 statement to supporters and press (video)

History of the Free Marissa Now campaign

Free Marissa Now & Stand with Nan-Hui, interview in

RW statement for Standing Our Ground Week

Interview on SyndicatedNews.Net
(with Free Marissa Now song by Danielle Kerley/Heart of Orion)

Article in The Grio/MSNBC

Marissa Alexander is Free but Not Yet in the Clear

Free Marissa Now statement on Marissa Alexander's release
on bond

RW column: "Growing campaign to free Marissa Alexander"

Radical Women demands justice for Marissa Alexander

Free Marissa Now statement on mandatory minimum sentencing

Free Marissa Now statement on Zimmerman verdict

Factsheet on the case

National Free Marissa Now mobilization campaign website

Updates/discussion from the national campaign (Facebook)

Website and donation links - managed by Marissa's family

Updates and information from the Seattle-based committee

Write to Marissa Alexander
Marissa Alexander
P. O. Box 23872
Jacksonville, FL 32257

For full list see

More than 50 state, county and local agencies
and organizations working to stop sexual violence
and abuse, plus the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the National Network to End Domestic Violence

African-American/Black Women's Cultural Alliance
Asian Women's Shelter
Black Alliance for Just Immigration
Black Skeptics Los Angeles
Black Women for Wellness
Black Women's Blueprint
California Coalition for Women Prisoners
A Call to Men
Chicago Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander
Committee Against Police Brutality
Comunidad Liberación/Liberation Community
Critical Resistance
End Stand Your Ground
Equal Action
Families Against Mandatory Minimums
Fearless Leading by the Youth (FLY)
Florida New Majority
Freedom Socialist Party
Gender Justice LA
Girls for Gender Equity
Green Party of Seattle
Idle No More, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Indigenous Social Justice Association - Melbourne, Australia
Justice for Trayvon Martin Los Angeles
LAGAI – Queer Insurrection
Miami Law Human Rights Clinic (Atlanta Council)
NAACP Carson/Torrance Branch
National Conference of Black Lawyers
National Congress of Black Women
National Lawyers Guild
New Jim Crow Movement
New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice
Northwest Network of LGBT Survivors of Abuse
Northwest Oregon Labor Council
NOW-NJ (National Organization for Women-New Jersey)
Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS)
Organizing for Action - Florida
Pacific NW Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander
People's Organization for Progress
Power U Center for Social Change
Project South
Radical Women
Renewed Life Ministry
San Francisco Women Against Rape
Seattle Women In Black
Sisters Inside Inc
Southern Freedom Movement
Toronto Activists for Social Change
UFCW Local 555, Oregon
Voice of the Ex-Offender
WISH (Washington Incarceration Stops Here)
Women of Color Network
Women's Health & Justice Initiative
Women in Prison Defense Committee - Pittsburgh
Women With A Vision, Inc.

Affiliation listed for identification only

William C. Anderson,
Amina Baraka, community activist/poet
Amiri Baraka, Unity & Struggle
Zillah Eisenstein, feminist scholar and writer
Glen Ford, Executive editor, Black Agenda Report
James E. Harris, New Jersey NAACP President
Andy Johnson, radio host, former member FL House
Glorious Johnson (Former City Council Member/Jacksonville, Florida)
Mia Jones, Florida House of Representatives
Zayid Muhammad, New Black Panther Party
Suzanne Pharr, community organizer and strategist, political educator, trainer, speaker, and writer from Knoxville, TN
Katha Pollitt, journalist for The Nation
Beth E. Richie, author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America's Prison Nation
Andrea Smith, UC Riverside, author of Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide
Dean Spade, Assoc. Professor, Seattle University School of Law
Vicky Stapleton, Executive Action VP of NOW-NJ; Women in NAACP Morris County
Laura Whitehorn, former political prisoner
James Wright, union activist and former SCLC Field Organizer

"To the woman who put Marissa Alexander in jail: Open letter by Melissa Harris-Perry," MSNBC

"Growing campaign to free abuse survivor Marissa Alexander turns outrage into action," Freedom Socialist

"Freeing Marissa Alexander," TruthOut

"National Fight Continues for Retrial for Florida's Marissa Alexander," Amsterdam News

"Unbelievable: Fla. 'Stand Your Ground' Defense Rejected for Mother Only Firing 'Warning Shot'," Afro Briefs

"Fighting for Our Lives, Marissa Alexander & Stand Your Ground,"
Blog Radio by Black Women's Blueprint

"I Fought the Law and the Law Won," Feministing

"Marissa Alexander Sentenced: Florida Mom Who Shot At Abusive Husband Gets 20 Years In Prison, Huffington Post

"Marissa Alexander's 20-years mandatory prison sentence, where's the damn community outrage?," Chocolate City

"Martin Luther King III to hold March in Florida in protest of Marissa Alexander sentence," The Grio

"No Justice When Women Fight Back," Truth-Out

"Please, Governor, Clemency for Marissa Alexander," Sunshine State News

"Survivor of domestic violence gets 20 years," Freedom Socialist

"You call this justice? Not if it's the victim who goes to prison," Miami Herald

"Where was Stand Your Ground for Marissa Alexander," Time: Ideas

YouTube Video Clips