Nov 28 2013

Marissa’s Home…

“I call for you
cultivation of victory Over
long blows that you want to give and blows you are going to get.

what wants to crumble you down, to sicken
you. I call for you
cultivation of strength to heal and enhance
in the non-cheering dark,
in the many many mornings-after;
in the chalk and choke.” – From: To Prisoners by Gwendolyn Brooks

I spent hours cooking today. I spent the rest of the time entertaining others. I’m actually a misanthrope so the mingling is always draining.

Around 3 p.m., I was hiding out in the bedroom reading when a friend burst in to tell me the news… Marissa’s home, she yelled. She’s home for Thanksgiving. I heard the words but I was silent because I couldn’t process them. What happened? I finally asked. She gave me her tablet and I read an article confirming that Marissa was released on bail shortly before midnight. She was home with conditions. She is under house arrest and electronic monitoring until her re-trial but she is with her family.


Several weeks ago, I had a mini-tantrum on my Facebook page. I complained about the lack of attention to Marissa’s case as illustrated by the dearth of art (visual, written, etc) about her. Where was the outpouring of grief and support for Marissa? In truth, my anger was masking hurt. I won’t dwell on this. Today is a good day for Marissa, for her family and for her supporters. It’s a good day and it’s a testament to the years of organizing on her behalf by a small and committed group of mostly women.

The struggle is far from over as she still faces long-odds in her re-trial scheduled for March 2014. But for today, I hold on to this good news, try to temper my righteous rage and am grateful. I’ve been asked many times if I find the work that I do to dismantle prisons ‘depressing.’ My answer is always the same; what’s actually depressing is that there are millions of people languishing as I type in cages around the world. So every time someone is released from the dungeon, we must celebrate. We must acknowledge the imperfect freedom as one more brick out of the wall of injustice. We must continue chipping away until it all comes tumbling down and “until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Rebel Diaz fittingly released a remix of the classic song “Which Side Are You On?” today. We are always called to clarify our answer to this question. If you stand on Marissa’s side, you stand on the side of justice.

As we celebrate the fact that Marissa is home with her family, please donate to her legal defense fund as we need to raise $250,000 to cover re-trial costs. Thank you.

Update: If you are in Chicago on December 14, please join us as we celebrate Marissa’s release from jail and raise funds for her legal defense.