64,000 Black women are currently missing in America
Marissa Alexander fired her gun as warning. There is a tradition of Black women gone missing. Black women disappeared. Poof. Sky clouds of Black women obliterated, erased, whole geographies of Black women floated off cliffs, mountains of daughters marched off into somewhere other, into the pink flamingo ether of night. Engine still running in the car. Back door flung open. Purse jacked and peppermints strewn on the kitchen floor, in the stairwell. A co-ed screams into flax and rope. Black women snatched, disappeared, and no alarms set off, no search teams in tow, no news conference at 11 or 6 or ever. There is another tradition of Black women fighting for their lives.
Marissa Alexander, Black woman, mother of 3, with an MBA, with a PhD in surviving domestic violence, a woman of faith, who had already been in the hospital, for other beatings her husband had given her, who decided to take her gun and do the most non-violent thing, 9 days after delivering her premature child, as her husband went into one of his usual rages, while fleeing for her life, she fired once into the garage wall, a warning, a No! a single shot, a ruby red flare sent up into the night sky, a signal she would not go quietly into that growing number, I have children to raise a life to not be missing from.
She was arrested. Black women are not allowed to protect their children. Black women are never allowed to protect themselves. Black women are not allowed to say No. If a Black woman is fired upon it is target practice. If a Black woman fires a gun it is judicial helter skelter. After 12 minutes of deliberation she is given 20 years, by a peerless jury, in great civic rush to put away a Black woman refusing to disappear into the lie of a plea. The husband admitted he was the aggressor, admitted he threatened her life.
The weather in Florida is funny. So much heat, so much sea change, so much retirement, urchin, starfish, anemone, jellyfish laws duck & float. Marissa Alexander has been granted a new trial. She waits for her new day in court under house arrest. This time she could go free. This time she could get 60 years instead of 20. For defending her life, her life that no one else historically has ever stepped up to protect, for sending her ruby red flaming pink flamingo flare into the salty air, her Black woman mama bear warning, that she was alive, that she would not go missing, her human refusal, to not be another Black woman legally & immorally abducted from her life.