Members of Free Marissa Now and their families will gather at 3pm at the Christmas Tree at Jacksonville Landing for a Welcome Home Celebration for Marissa Alexander. Alexander was released on bond late Wednesday night and will be under home detention until her new trial, scheduled to begin on March 31. Jacksonville Landing is at 2 Independent Dr., Jacksonville, FL.
Marissa is free (-ish, for now, pending re-trial, and it’s home arrest, isn’t that a kind of domestic violence?, but I really am deeply happy for her and her family, regardless of my bah humbug tendencies!).
Gathering around a Christmas Tree as a Welcome Home Celebration on Thanksgiving, though? I mean, isn’t that a scene from It’s A Wonderful Life when the friends bring him all the cash to deal with the crushing debt, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas when they sing around the tree after their presents got stolen, and The Color Purple when Sophia reunites with her family for five seconds before Miss Anne or whatever her name was insisted that she had to go, all wrapped up into one?
Can’t help it. My heart. It grows three sizes this day.
My family talks about food the way other people talk about the weather. Or art. Status updates, unsentimental critiques, lesson plans. A cornerstone of jokes about frustrated desire, lines drawn in the sand, and competitive one upsmanship. A living thread that adapts in a conversation both simple and complex. The truest answer to “how are you?”
Mark Rothko, abstract expressionist, the Russian-American angel of the color field: Sep. 25, 1903 - 1970…
Above: Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on White and Red, 1949
Prince - The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker
By including the phrase “beyond a reasonable doubt” when giving the instruction on the aggravated battery prong of the self-defense instruction, the trial court improperly transmuted the prosecution’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt into a burden on the appellant to prove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt, depriving her of a trial under the correct rule. The defendant’s burden is only to raise a reasonable doubt concerning self-defense. The defendant does not have the burden to prove the victim guilty of the aggression defended against beyond a reasonable doubt. “When a defendant claims self-defense, the State maintains the burden of proving the defendant committed the crime and did not act in self-defense.” Montijo v. State, 61 So. 3d 424, 427 (Fla. 5th DCA 2011). “The burden never shifts to the defendant to prove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. Rather, he must simply present enough evidence to support giving the instruction.”
My head is really fuzzy today, but I’ve read this about ten times and I’m pretty sure what’s being said here is that the jury that took “12 minutes” to convict Marissa Alexander was essentially instructed that she is guilty unless she had proven herself innocent. That she had to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she was defending herself from harm in order to be worthy of acquittal.
So, guilty until proven innocent. Just so we’re clear.
(I mean, yay and everything for the appeal, but what I’m saying is: those fuckers)
City public housing tenants should all be fingerprinted, Mayor Bloomberg said Friday, sparking an uproar from Democratic mayoral hopefuls.
Adolph Gottlieb, Blues, 1962
In the late 1950s, Adolph Gottlieb started his “burst” paintings, a series of works that showed smooth, round areas of color above vigorous brushstrokes and splatters. This method brought together the two main currents of abstract expressionism: the soft tones of color field painting and the dramatic gestures of action painting. The black shape at the bottom of this image reflects the artist’s movement as he applied paint in one wide, twisting brushstroke. In contrast, the shades of blue above blend softly from light to dark, as if he used slower, more careful brushstrokes. Gottlieb played with opposites, painting pairs of shapes that evoke dualities such as night and day, sun and earth, and male and female (Alloway and MacNaughton, Adolph Gottlieb: A Retrospective, 1981).
President Josiah Bartlett, The West Wing
A general summary of my reaction when reading the news.
I begin by exploring the deluge of requirements that follow a woman’s receipt of government subsidization of her prenatal health care costs. That is, as a condition of receipt of Medicaid coverage of prenatal care expenses, poor, uninsured pregnant women are compelled to meet with a battery of professionals— namely nurses, nutritionists, social workers, health educators, and ﬁnancial oﬃcers— who inquire into areas of women’s lives that frequently exceed the purview of their medical care. This chapter argues that, as a result, Medicaid mandates an intrusion into women’s private lives and produces pregnancy as an opportunity for state supervision, management, and regulation of poor, uninsured women. In essence, the receipt of Medicaid inaugurates poor women into the state regulatory apparatus.
Khiara M. Bridges, Reproducing Race: An Ethnography of Pregnancy as a Site of Racialization (excerpt here)
We need an intersectional analysis, a race/gender/class/disability dimension of analysis, of surveillance culture. The dominant discourse around surveillance, privacy rights, and civil liberties marginalizes or discredits the reality of state regulation and violation of human lives, as described above. It’s not that I don’t care that the government has access to voicemail records, it’s that I don’t think we can understand why or how that is happening without taking seriously the relationship between state surveillance and the criminalization of reproduction or state-based sexual assault, among other items.
You may have heard about Marissa Alexander, the black survivor of domestic violence from Jacksonville, FL who was sentenced to 20 years for defending herself from her abusive estranged husband. Despite the fact that Marissa caused no injuries and has no previous criminal record, and despite the fact that Florida’s self-defense law includes the right to “Stand Your Ground,” she was arrested by Jacksonville police, charged with aggravated assault, and sentenced to 20 years due to mandatory minimum laws.
Marissa’s supporters are getting organized and there’s a Free Marissa tumblr: http://freemarissanow.tumblr.com
and a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FreeMarissaNow
So, please help spread the word!
Marissa’s case is one of many that shows us how Black women and other marginalized people are especially likely to be criminalized, prosecuted, and incarcerated while trying to navigate and survive the conditions of violence in their lives. Her case also reminds us why anti-domestic and sexual violence advocates and activists must work to end mass incarceration, address the intersection of race, gender, poverty and prisons/policing, and seek truly transformative solutions to violence.