Remember Marissa Alexander? She was the woman who was sentenced to 20 years in prison after she fired a warning shot at the ceiling during a dispute with her husband.
Marissa’s new court hearing will start on 1 August. To show support from 25 July to the trial date, hundreds of activists will come together in Jacksonville, Florida for a “Standing Our Ground” week long protest.
The aim is to build awareness about domestic violence and reproductive justice, and strengthen opposition to mandatory minimum sentencing.
The first day of the week will acknowledge the one-year anniversary of George Zimmerman’s exoneration for the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin.
On Friday, 25 July, the national SisterSong Reproductive Justice Institute will hold a day of panel discussions and workshops. A youth assembly will be held on Saturday. On 27 July, a benefit concert will be held for Alexander’s legal defence fund. A march will be held 28 July, and a panel of local and national feminists and leaders in the movement for women’s safety will be held Tuesday, 29 July.
On Wednesday, panels will take on issues of police brutality. On the final day of activism, legal experts will train the community about their rights under the law, ending with a candlelight vigil.
Marissa Alexander stood trial on 1 August 2010 for firing a warning shot to stop a life-threatening attack by her estranged husband, causing no injuries.
Alexander testified that her then-husband, Rico Gray Sr., questioned her fidelity and the paternity of her 1-week-old child. She claimed that he broke through a bathroom door that she had locked and grabbed her by the neck. She said she tried to push past him but he shoved her into the door, prompting a struggle.
Afterwards, Alexander claimed that she ran to the garage and tried to leave but was unable to open the garage door, so she retrieved a gun, which she legally owned.
Once inside, she claimed, her husband saw the gun and charged at her “in a rage” saying, “I’ll kill you.” She said she raised the gun and fired a warning shot into the air to scare him off, rather than hurt him.
The jury rejected Alexander’s claims of self-defence, and said the “Stand Your Ground” law didn’t apply to her because she had not been harmed in the struggle.
Alexander’s 20-year mandatory sentence sparked outrage across the nation, with many claiming racial bias, particularly in the wake of George Zimmerman’s not-guilty verdict, which happened around the same time.
Marissa was found guilty of aggravated assault and served two years of her sentence before a Florida appeals court overturned the guilty verdict. State Prosecutor Angela Corey has chosen to re-prosecute Alexander, this time threatening a mandatory 60-year sentence if Alexander is found guilty in the new trial.