Why is Marissa Alexander facing 20 years in prison for defending herself from her abusive husband? He did not die, and Alexander did not shoot her attacker rather, Alexander fired a warning shot to prevent him from coming closer. That warning shot traveled through a wall and ceiling, but did not injure anyone. Furthermore, Alexander held a valid concealed weapons permit and there was a court injunction documenting the domestic abuse from her husband.

So with this knowledge, how is it possible that Alexander, and African-American woman, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison while Zimmerman, who shot and killed an unarmed boy (Trayvon Martin) is walking free? Comparing and contrasting these self-defense cases and the sentencing in each is mind-boggling, especially since both incidents took place in the state of Florida. Inconsistencies like these in our legal system are causing people to rightfully question whether race and class are factors in how sentences are carried out. It is only through people voicing their concerns and putting pressure on the decision-makers that true justice will be served. Sometimes even mass public outcry is unfortunately not enough, but together we must try to make a difference in the world.

For more information and to sign the petition for Marissa Alexander, click here: Justice for Marissa 

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Kaira Portillo

Kaira Portillo

Kaira Portillo-Espinoza was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. She is grateful for having grown up around such a wide spectrum of diversity, which makes the Bay Area the unique place it is. Her first published book, Poems About This Roller-Coaster Ride Called Life, is a collection of poems she wrote throughout high school and college and explores issues of injustice, resistance, sexuality, and empowerment. See more articles by this author >