From 2013-2017, the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign to free Marissa Alexander was underway. People all over the U.S. and the world mobilized to free this Black mother of three who was facing 20 — and then 60 — years of prison for defending her life from her abusive husband.
The campaign had a nexus of local support emerging from the Chicago Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander (now known as Love & Protect), which organized many impactful projects including fundraisers and a #FreeMarissa store that raised tens of thousands of dollars for Marissa’s Legal Defense Fund.
In 2015, members of the national and Chicago campaign organized a defense campaign workshop for the Color of Violence 4 conference, organized by INCITE!. There, they met members of the Stand With Nan-Hui defense campaign to free Nan-Hui Jo, a Korean mother and survivor of domestic violence who was targeted by prosecutors and imprisoned in ICE detention. The group then connected with members of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP), a grassroots advocacy organization that had been organizing for the freedom of people in women’s prisons for over 20 years. This collective of organizers exchanged stories about the promises and challenges of defense campaigns, and ideas about the intersections of criminalization and surviving domestic and sexual violence. Naming themselves Survived & Punished (S&P), the group met officially in Chicago in March 2016 to develop a national organizing plan.
(More details about these connections can be found in the article, Free Marissa Now and Stand With Nan-Hui: A Conversation About Parallel Struggles, and in the S&P defense campaign toolkit.)