Marissa Alexander, a Florida mother of three, is currently undergoing a retrial and facing 60 years in prison for firing a warning shot into the air to ward off her abusive and estranged husband. Though the bullet didn’t hurt anyone, Alexander would be serving a 20-year sentence if the ruling had not been overturned following her first trial. She is Black and a woman, and that’s all those who prosecuted her cared to know.
Her imprisonment and the historical injustices suffered by so many Black and brown people have led to a major uproar and deeper conversation about the criminalization of Black women and how it has significant effects on the Black family structure. The criminalization of the Black community is breaking up the Black family and by doing so is perpetuating the cycles of poverty and oppression in our society, especially when Black children are being put in foster care at a greater rate than other children.
Now that I’ve shared some of Alexander’s story, here is a snapshot of mine.