10/29/2013 03:06 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

We Must Stand With Marissa Alexander


A few days after giving birth, Florida woman Marissa Alexander was attacked by her allegedly abusive husband. She fired one warning shot, at the ceiling. No one was harmed. Alexander has no prior arrests. Marissa was sentenced to 20 years by the state of Florida.

Thankfully, things may be looking up for Alexander. An appeals court judge recently ruled that the trial placed an undue burden on Alexander to prove her innocence, a clear violation of "innocent until proved guilty." Now her fate lies in the hands of State Prosecutor Angela Corey who will decide whether to drop the case or set a new trial date.

Corey's office has no plans to drop the case and say that they've only received 300 letters so far. We cannot fail Marissa. After all that she has been through, it would be a third victimization for feminists to not do our utmost to advocate for Marissa. We need to make our voices undeniable.

We cannot let this moment pass for Marissa Alexander. We have the chance to flood state attorney Angela Corey's office with letters asking her to drop the case against Alexander. We can set a real precedent, that the public will not allow an innocent woman to be imprisoned for protecting herself and her family against her abusive husband. But that is going to require some effort on our part. Incarcerated doesn't have to be synonymous with "forgotten" or "powerless."

As domestic violence awareness month draws to a close letters are vital. Not only was Marissa abused by her partner, she was abused by the state-- they separated her from her children and incarcerated her for self defense.

White feminists like myself have a history of ignoring the struggles of women of color. We can't erase that past, but we absolutely must do better. Sending a letter to Corey isn't an end to racism, but we've got to stand in solidarity. Women of color have been doing incredible work around Marissa's case, and my goal in writing this is not to stand in front of them, but to stand beside them.

A win for Marissa cannot give her back the time she spent in jail but it would send a message to battered women: that even if the state does not support them, the community does. We've gotta make sure that battered women know that we have their backs. Marissa's hearing is on November first, so now is the time to download Free Marissa Now's letter and make sure your voice is heard loud and clear.

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