July 14, 2013

Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath: Don't Get Mad, Get To Work: Free Marissa Alexander

Free Marissa - http://justiceformarissa.blogspot.com/
The #Zimmerman verdict has come in and the jury has found him not guilty on all counts.  I'm terribly discouraged by the verdict.  I have two sons. The verdict in this case merely underscores why I have to train my sons to be very conscious of how they act when they are in areas where their race makes them stand out, which includes the subdivision I live in. I have to make sure they understand that because of stereotypes, its possible for them to get killed in this way.

At moments like these, as a community, we're angry and despairing.  Some within and without our community stand back and wait for us to riot, but I say that we should not waste our emotion in futile anger but should resolve to do something that is meaningful.  

Here is what I recommend.  The Stand Your Ground law was talked about extensively in this case and interestingly enough, Zimmerman's lawyers opted not to pursue a Stand Your Ground hearing in front of a judge, but instead argued it at trial and got their client off.  We fought hard to see that Trayvon Martin's killer was weighed on the scales of justice. Unfortunately, he was able to get off with a story made believable by stereotypes of young black males.

 Be clear, we lost this battle for justice. Zimmerman has been acquitted and will go free. The NAACP is calling for a DOJ civil rights case.  Frankly, I think that's rather pointless, even if it were brought and successful. 

In this very same state however, a black woman, Marissa Alexander, stood her ground against her abusive husband, and fired a warning shot into the ceiling to deter him from doing her harm.  No one was injured or hurt, but under FL mandatory sentencing laws, she was given 20 years in prison.   She had just given birth 9 days prior to a premature baby girl, in the hospital fighting for her  young life. She owned a gun for which she had a license and had been trained in its use (Hello NRA, little help?).  She had a restraining order in force against her abusive husband.  She fired a warning shot into the ceiling of her home to prevent him from actually attacking her. Yet she was given 20 years in prison. Zimmerman is going home a free man, but Marissa Alexander can't even get released on bond pending her appeal?

So here is a what I say.  Let's take this energy and outrage we feel about the outcome of this case and use it to achieve a just end in Marissa Alexander's case and other cases like hers.  Let's not waste our time with useless outrage, rather, lets turn and attack a problem we can fix.  In the Marissa Alexander case, we can do the following:

  • Sign new petitions on her behalf
  • Lobby for changes to FL mandatory sentencing laws that would free her and others like her
  • Protest, march and rally on her behalf
  • Petition FL governor Rick Scott and ask for a pardon
  • Pressure Angela Corey, the prosecutor in her case to make it right
  • Write to her and let her know you are joining her fight (Marissa Alexander 2012033887 500 E. Adams. St. Jacksonville FL 32202)
  • Anything else I haven't listed here
  • Give money to support her legal defense

 We are mad about Trayvon and we should be.  But we lost the battle for justice in that case.  Don't be angry to no purpose.  We can't get justice in the system for Trayvon and we can't bring him back to life, but we can fix Marissa Alexanders situation and we can get her out of jail and home to her kids.  Whatever it takes, lets be bound and determined to see Marissa walk out of a prison like yesterday. 

Don't get mad.  Get to work. Free Marissa Alexandar
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