Enough is enough! Marissa’s family and friends and some Jacksonville activists have been defending her since her arrest. But the case became nationally known when she was sentenced in May 2012.
As a socialist feminist organization, Radical Women (RW) felt strongly about coming to Marissa’s defense. RW issued a statement in June 2012 and helped start the Pacific Northwest Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander.
The alliance is a multiracial group with outspoken Black women in the leadership. They have taken Marissa’s cause to community groups, churches, marches, rallies, and festivals. They co-sponsored a Mother’s Day action demanding affordable childcare, an end to domestic violence, funding for social services, and other needs of women and children.
Radical Women and the Pacific Northwest Alliance also helped launch the national Free Marissa Now campaign (FMN) in cooperation with Marissa and her family. Other founders include the African-American/Black Women’s Cultural Alliance, INCITE!, the New Jim Crow Movement, and the Southern Freedom Movement.
FMN hosts conference calls in which people around the country develop joint campaigns. FMN generates publicity, reaches out to potential endorsers, organizes educational events, raises funds, petitions online, and explores legislative reforms. Over 50 groups have endorsed, including the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Congress of Black Women, and the National Conference of Black Lawyers.
FMN urges people to write Marissa so that both she and prison officials know the extent of her support. Marissa says, “I’m so very blessed to have some of the most extraordinary people and organizations who are committed to supporting and encouraging me in every way. … Truly I couldn’t begin to express to you how much I appreciate your wonderful letters.” See freemarissanow.tumblr.com for info about writing to her.
The stark contrast between Alexander’s sentence and Zimmerman’s acquittal ignited more outrage in July 2013. Florida groups held a six-day Walk for Dignity from Jacksonville to Sanford demanding the resignation of State Attorney Angela Corey and Alexander’s release. Marissa’s supporters took part in protests of the Zimmerman verdict, responded to a new wave of media interest, and brought her case to commemorations of the 1963 March on Washington. Sept. 14, Alexander’s birthday, was a national day of rallies and events demanding her freedom.
The pressure is having an impact. Florida State Senator Dwight Bullard has publicly urged the governor to pardon Alexander.
Contact Anne Slater, national president of Radical Women in the U.S. and a member of the Free Marissa Now campaign, at email@example.com.