Today is day 17 of the national month-long writing campaign for men on the issue of domestic violence and in support of Marissa Alexander, the Florida mother of three who was sentenced to 20 years for firing a warning shot to scare off her abusive husband. Launched by the Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against , Emotional Justice Unplugged, and the Free Marisa Now Mobilization Campaign, EBONY.com is the official media partner of this critical act of 'emotional justice' in action.
*NOTE: Today @ 3pm, GlobalGrind.com—a new media partner for this campaign—will lead a Twitter chat on #31forMARISSA. Follow @GlobalGrind @esther_armah @prisonculture for that. We'll be talking next steps in Marissa Alexander's case, masculinity, the criminal justice system, how younger men can engage with the domestic violence movement. Plus, on Thursday October 10th a Google Chat led by Jeff Johnson with Darnell Moore and Kai M Green, who have both written letters for the campaign, took place. Did you miss it? Watch it here. Check out our mission statement here and visit EBONY.com daily through the month of October to read powerful words from men who are committed to seeing justice for Marissa Alexander.
Today's letter is from a White man who signs his letter 'A Witness in Solidarity.' He is appalled by Marissa's incarceration, questions a justice system that convicts a victim and survivor of crime, acknowledges his own white privilege had his mother or sisters done the same towards a father who routinely maintained dominance through severe violence. And finally he is fighting to make peace with the man in the mirror – the reflection that stares back is a replica of his father. He struggles with the rage and shame he carries due to that reflection. As he thinks back on his own childhood he stands with Marissa and calls on other White men to do the same.
"Dear Marissa" by A Witness in Solidarity
"I remain appalled by your barbaric incarceration. Any system of justice that is capable of convicting a victim of crime in the act of prevention is deeply broken."
"I wonder, if my sisters or my mother had access to a weapon in those irreversible moments of horror, would they have used it as a warning to interrupt the violence?"
"… I wonder how a shot from a gun in my family’s middle-class suburban home would have been handled by the authorities. It’s hard for me to imagine that the incident would have led to any criminal charges at all. As a black woman Marissa, you had two permanently systemic strikes against you before the event even occurred."
"My father was a large white man who carried himself with an air of importance. When he entered a room, deference was automatically conferred upon him from both strangers and those who knew him well. That was in public. In our family, his domination was secured by violence."
"My 57-year-old body is an exact replica of my father’s at the same age. I still carry such rage and shame from my father’s violence that it is impossible for me to fully inhabit this body with pride."
Read this brother's complete letter here
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NYC Radio Host and Playwright