Survived and Punished calls for the freedom of all incarcerated survivors. California has increased the number of commutations for Life Without Parole sentencing, meaning fewer people are sentenced to die in prison because they have a chance at parole. One strategy has been raising public awareness of multiple cases within the intersections of sexual, racial, domestic, and carceral violence, and organizing public support to urge the Governor to commute more sentences and free more people.
Tammy Garvin is an incarcerated survivor who was convicted for her trafficker/abuser’s lethal violence. For surviving, Tammy has been in prison for 27 years already. She is serving Life Without Parole in California.
Tammy was only 14 years old when she was trafficked, and by the time she was convicted and sentenced to Life Without Parole in her 30s, she suffered from the long-term effects of severe psychological and sexual abuse.
Incarcerated survivors are leading groups to support survivors and advocate to de-criminalize survival from within the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF), the biggest women’s prison in the U.S. (and likely the world).
Tammy has a real chance at clemency during Governor Brown’s last year, but only if we insist on it.
Can you help us get over 100 signatures to #FreeTammyGarvin today on her 59th birthday?
In this post, #FreeBresha organizers Colby Lenz and Mariame Kaba review how #FreeBresha successfully advocated for Bresha Meadows, an Ohio teen who was jailed after killing her father in self-defense. (Originally published at Teen Vogue)
Bresha was only 14 years old when she was charged with killing her father, who her mother and family said had inflicted years of abuse on them. Instead of receiving compassionate care, Bresha was criminalized for what many consider to have been self-defense. Prosecutors charged her with aggravated murder and sought to try her as an adult. She faced a potential life sentence in prison in Ohio. After instead pleading “true” to a charge of involuntary manslaughter, Bresha was sentenced to one year in a juvenile jail (with 10 months already served), six months of confinement in a mental health facility, and two years of probation once released.
Bresha’s attempts to escape domestic violence and seek help were blocked by multiple systemsthat ultimately failed to support her, including the police and Child Protective Services. Bresha’s story reveals the powerful pipeline between girls’ experiences of domestic and sexual violence and their forced entry into carceral systems.
We are both part of #FreeBresha, the small organizing collective that brought Bresha’s case to national and international attention. In August 2016, we formed a volunteer, ad-hoc defense committee to demand her freedom. A defense committee or campaign is a grassroots effort to secure the freedom of a person targeted for criminalization, through community organizing, political pressure, community education, legal and media advocacy, and other strategies. As part of an effort to #FreeBresha, we organized calls to action and then coordinated and publicized widespread decentralized actions into an organizing force to be reckoned with. Supporters across the world demanded care and resources, not cages, for Bresha and all survivors of domestic and sexual violence. …
15-year-old domestic violence survivor, Bresha Meadows, was offered a plea deal at a pretrial hearing this morning at the Trumbull County Juvenile Court in Ohio. While the details of the proposed deal have not been finalized, our understanding of the terms is that Bresha will be under state control for a total of 18 months. This includes 9 months she has already spent behind bars and an additional 9 months of incarceration in a “treatment facility.” Bresha’s attorney hopes Bresha will be transferred from juvenile detention to the treatment center by May 22nd at the latest. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for May 22nd. Bresha’s record, as it relates to this case, would be sealed on her eighteenth birthday.
Without a plea deal, Bresha would face an aggravated murder charge for defending herself and her mother against the unrelenting abuse of her father, Jonathan Meadows. A conviction…
Bresha has an important court hearing on Thursday, Oct 6th when the prosecutor will determine if Bresha will be prosecuted for a crime (possibly charged as an adult) instead of given the support & safety that she needs.
We take action in solidarity with Bresha and demand that she is returned home to her family and that all charges against her are dropped. We call on #SayHerName / #BlackLivesMatter supporters, victim advocates, feminists, racial justice activists, young people, and people of faith to take action in solidarity with Bresha and all survivors of domestic & sexual violence who are criminalized for surviving.
TAKE DIRECT ACTION! On Oct 5th & 6th, organize a march & rally, a speak out, a vigil, a flash mob dance party, a concert, a block party, or a fundraiser. Use media! Create zines, short videos, postcards, music, and poetry.
SIGN the petition to demand that Trumbull County Prosecutor, Dennis Watkins, drop the charges against Bresha and free her now:bit.ly/FreeBreshaNow
WRITE letters of encouragement and support to Bresha and send to: Bresha Meadows, c/o Ian N. Friedman, Esq., Friedman & Nemecek, L.L.C., The IMG Center, 1360 E. 9th Street, Suite 650, Cleveland, Ohio 44114
EDUCATE communities about the criminalization of black girls and survivors of domestic violence! Organize discussions and workshops about domestic and sexual violence, explore community strategies for safety and support, resist the criminalization of our communities. Educational Resources:
* #FreeBresha curriculum template * fact sheet on domestic violence and the criminalization of girls
* educational tools at survivedandpunished.org and No Selves to Defend
CONNECT WITH FAITH COMMUNITIES. If you are part of a faith community, join community prayer sessions for Bresha’s freedom and mobilize your community. More here:https://freebresha.wordpress.com/faith/
SPREAD THE WORD with friends, families, communities, co-workers, and via social media. Write letters to the editor to your local news media. Blog, tweet, and spread the word on social media. #FreeBresha
We write this post for Bresha Meadows, on this, her 15th birthday. As Black and Brown organizers, many of whom have experienced violence in our own lives, it pains us that Bresha will spend this day incarcerated, rather than celebrating her life at home with her family. On July 28, acting in her own defense, and in defense of her mother, Bresha allegedly took the life of her father, Jonathan Meadows.
Jonathan Meadows was killed with his own gun — a firearm he is said to have repeatedly pointed at his own family, throughout the years of abuse they suffered. It is well documented that abusers with a history of violence are five times more likely to subsequently murder an intimate partner if there is a firearm in the home. Brandi, Bresha’s mother, was trapped in a cycle of violence, that both she and Bresha had…