Audio: Ash Stephens Speaks About CAFMA

Ash Stephens is a Phd student at UIC in Criminology, Law & Justice and also a Teaching Assistant in Gender & Women’s Studies. Ash is a member of the volunteer-led group, the Chicago Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander, which is mobilizing for Marissa’s freedom from an unjust incarceration.

These storytellers were invited to share personal stories of Care and Resistance as peace building in honor of Jane Addams Day 2014.


Timeline of Marissa’s Case

For those who are new to Marissa’s case and those who want more context, here’s a helpful timeline of key milestones and events. Please participate in the current fundraiser to raise $11,000 in 10 days to cover Marissa’s ankle monitoring fees.


2009: Marissa receives court injunction after batterer is arrested for domestic violence

August 1, 2010: Nine days after giving birth to a premature daughter, Marissa is attacked by her abusive estranged husband at their shared home.

Marissa retrieved her lawfully registered gun and fired a warning shot upwards into a wall to prevent him from beating her to death. No one was injured by her warning shot

February 10, 2011: Marissa’s incarceration begins.

August 17, 2011: Marissa is denied Stand Your Ground immunity from prosecution.

May 11, 2012: Marissa is found guilty of three counts of assault with a deadly weapon and receives a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.

July 10, 2013: Marissa is denied bond pending her appeal of the guilty verdict.

September 26, 2013: Marissa successfully appeals the 2012 trial, the guilty verdict is overturned, and she is – not free – but given the right to a new trial.

November 27, 2013: Marissa is released on bond the night before Thanksgiving. She spent 1,021 days in prison. She is placed on house arrest with special conditions, including requiring her to post a $200,009 bond, remain under the supervision of the Pretrial Service Program (PCP) at all times, be subject to 24/7 electronic monitoring, and remain in home detention until the completion of her case – she’s charged $4000/month

January 7, 2014: State Prosecutor Angela Corey files a motion to revoke Marissa’s bond release, claiming that Marissa violated the conditions of her release

January 10, 2014: Corey’s motion to revoke Marissa’s bond release is denied & Marissa remains on “home detention,” but with more restrictive conditions

March 1, 2014: Corey seeks 60 year sentence for Marissa

June 10, 2014: Judge Daniel postpones Marissa’s trial to December 8, 2014

June 21, 2014: Changes to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law go into effect, including expanding the law to cover warning shots. Marissa’s case is cited as an inspiration for the reform – but it does NOT apply retroactively to her case!

July 21, 2014: Marissa is denied a new Stand Your Ground hearing, which means she will not receive immunity from prosecution and must defend herself again in a new trial that will be expensive and long. Her new trial is scheduled to begin December 8, 2014.

November 24, 2014: Marissa ‘accepts’ a plea deal which includes time served (1,030 days) plus 65 days in jail beginning now PLUS two years of probation serving house detention while wearing a surveillance monitor she has to pay for.

Jan 27, 2015: Marissa has to return to court and face charges once again

10 Days to Black Freedom: A Fundraiser for Marissa Alexander

We continue to keenly focus our attention on Tuesday, January 27th, the day Marissa is scheduled to be released from a Jacksonville jail.  Upon her release, Marissa will begin a 2-year house arrest requiring she be once again shackled with an ankle monitoring device.  This device physically and financially shackles Marissa to the State of Florida as it requires her to pay $105 weekly to maintain the monitoring device.

Our hope is to ease Marissa’s transition by raising the entirety of the 2-year monitoring fees – $10,920 – in the 10 days prior to her scheduled release.  To that end, Free Marissa Now and CAFMA are launching “10 Days to Black Freedom: A Fundraiser for Marissa Alexander” this Saturday, January 17th. Donations can be made HERE. We need to reach $56,870 by January 27th to meet the goal.

fundraiser info
CAFMA will kick off this fundraiser by matching the first $1000 donated to the ongoing Freedom Fundraiser.

match dayJoin us on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #UntilMarissaIsFree to raise awareness about our fundraiser.

“We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.” – Ella’s Song


More CAFMA Updates…

There’s a ton of news to share this week.

First, read the update on the plea deal that Marissa accepted on 11/24/14. Second, make sure that you write Marissa at the Duval County jail where she will be until January 27, 2015. Third, please keep donating to Marissa’s legal defense fund as she will still need resources for the next couple of years beyond her release while she is on house arrest. Fourth, please show your solidarity with Marissa by changing your social media AVIs until her release from jail.

Finally, CAFMA organized a couple of solidarity actions for Marissa this past week. We kicked off with a combined solidarity effort for Marissa and Mike Brown. CAFMA member, Mariame Kaba, wrote about the event here.

photo by Sarah Jane Rhee (Chicago, 11/24/14)

photo by Sarah Jane Rhee (Chicago, 11/24/14)

photo by Sarah Jane Rhee (Chicago, 11/24/14)

photo by Sarah Jane Rhee (Chicago, 11/24/14)

Chicago, 11/24/14

Chicago, 11/24/14

photo by Sarah Jane Rhee (11/24/14)

photo by Sarah Jane Rhee (11/24/14)

photo by Sarah Jane Rhee (11/24/14)

photo by Sarah Jane Rhee (11/24/14)

The next day on the West Coast in Oakland, CAFMA member Ayanna Banks-Harris co-hosted (with Incite!) a discussion about Marissa’s case.

Oakland 11/25/14

Oakland 11/25/14

Oakland 11/25/14

Oakland 11/25/14

Finally, Chicago’s youth remind us that our struggles are interconnected… “We do this til they free us”

We do this for Marissa
We do this for Tanesha
We do this for Mike Brown
We do this for Rekia
We do this for Damo
We do this till We Free Us

CAFMA Updates…

It’s the homestretch. Only 16 more days until opening arguments in Marissa’s re-trial. CAFMA members have been all around Chicago raising awareness and funds for Marissa’s legal defense.

On Sunday November 16, CAFMA member Maya Schenwar hosted a launch party for her new book “Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do Better.”

photo by Sarah Jane Rhee

photo by Sarah Jane Rhee

Maya generously donated the royalties from the 1st week of book sales to Marissa’s legal defense fund. That amount of over $2,000 helped the legal fund to surpass $40,000 this week.


CAFMA co-organizer, Ayanna Banks-Harris, spoke about Marissa and the trial at the event.

photo by Sarah Jane Rhee

photo by Sarah Jane Rhee

Today, CAFMA tabled at the Teachers for Social Justice Curriculum Fair. We spoke to dozens of people about Marissa and raised some funds.

photo by Monica Trinidad

photo by Monica Trinidad

November 24: Chicago Free Marissa Solidarity Action

Join the Chicago Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander and The Chicago Light Brigade for an action in solidarity with Marissa Alexander. This light action is taking place just a few days before jury selection begins (December 1) in Marissa’s retrial. RSVP on Facebook.


Chicagoans have contributed funds, organized teach-ins and devoted countless volunteer hours to support Marissa and her legal defense.

We invite you to join us in the final days before her retrial to show your support and to share community with others.

Bring a poem about domestic violence and/or incarceration to share and read.

Spread the word to others. Speak out about domestic violence and mass incarceration.

When: November 24
Time: 6:30 pm
Where: Chicago Cultural Center (front steps), 78 East Washington Street.

Co-sponsored by Project NIA and the Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls & Young Women


Poem for Marissa (Ash)

We close out October and Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a reading of “Flare” by CAFMA member Ash Stephens. We are so grateful to everyone who contributed to this effort to #KeepMarissaInMind throughout the month of October. We are particularly indebted to Nikky Finney whose poem dedicated to Marissa inspired the idea in the first place.

A Poem for Marissa (Sticks & Stones)

On Friday, 24 October, Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration hosted its second “Sticks & Stones Formerly Incarcerated Women & Others Storytelling Dinner.”  A few of the Marissa supporters in attendance read “Flare” by Nikky Finney.