Marissa Alexander's Backer Demand Freedom For Nan-Hui Jo; Domestic Violence Survivor

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Nan-Hui Jo

Members of the activist network that organized for the freedom of Marissa Alexander is now calling for the immediate release of a California domestic violence survivor, Nan-Hui Jo.

Though Nan-Hui Jo called the police twice in 2009 after being attacked by her ex-partner, the police failed to file an incident report. She was forced to flee with her 6-year-old daughter to her home country of South Korea to escape the physical and emotional violence of her ex-partner and father of her daughter, and to comply with her immigration status. After her abusive ex-partner reported her actions as kidnapping, Nan-Hui was apprehended, arrested, and jailed immediately without bail.  Nan-Hui Jo has been behind bars since July 2014, forcibly separating her from her child for months.

Nan-Hui Jo was recently found guilty of kidnapping charges and now faces the threat of deportation, which will permanently separate her from her daughter.  On April 28, 2015, a judge in Yolo County (near Sacramento, CA) will determine if that verdict stands.  However, immigration officials have said that they will begin deportation proceedings against Nan-Hui Jo immediately, despite their ability to prevent detaining her while her case winds through various court systems.

Anti-domestic violence activists have called attention to the similarities in Marissa Alexander’s and Nan-Hui Jo’s experiences. In 2010, Alexander, a black mother of three from Jacksonville, Florida, was forced to defend her life from a life-threatening attack by her estranged husband by firing a single warning shot that caused no injuries. Alexander was prosecuted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for her act of self-defense and eventually faced a possible 60 years behind bars. This devastating sentence also caused Marissa to be separated from her baby girl for almost four years.  Though the conviction was successfully appealed, Alexander is currently serving two years of house detention while forced to wear and pay for a surveillance ankle monitor as part of her recent plea deal.

“Marissa Alexander and Nan-Hui Jo took measures to defend their lives from men in their lives who repeatedly attacked them.  They were then aggressively prosecuted and punished for defending their lives,” said Sumayya Coleman, a lead organizer in the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign. “Like Marissa, Nan-Hui Jo was forcibly separated from her child by systems that collaborated with her abusive ex-partner who received full custody.  Importantly, both Marissa’s and Nan-Hui Jo’s abusive ex-partners testified on record about their history of violently attacking the women, yet the experience of domestic violence was trivialized, denied, or distorted by prosecutors. While there are notable differences in their experiences, the similarities are striking and alarming.  Many women are living through violent nightmares that ensnares them within a systemic pattern of events that happens again and again to thousands of survivors of domestic violence in the US.”

“Free Marissa Now calls for the immediate freedom of Nan-Hui Jo,” said Alisa Bierria, also a Free Marissa Now organizer.  “We call for the immediate freedom of Tondalo Hall, a black survivor of domestic violence in Oklahoma who is serving 30 years in prison for being unable to protect her child from her abusive boyfriend.  And we still call for the immediate freedom of Marissa Alexander who is forcibly confined to her own home as punishment for defending her life. These cases show how domestic violence is not only one person’s pattern of abusive behavior, but also part of a broader institutional pattern of punishing survivors. The ACLU estimates that 85-90% of people in women’s prisons have experienced domestic or sexual violence before they were incarcerated.  Many immigrant survivors live with the constant threat of detention and deportation used as a strategy of abuse and control.  We must prioritize the powerful connection between ongoing gender violence and the racist prison crisis. Our lives depend on it.”

Free Marissa Now organizers are in solidarity with organizers leading the #StandWithNanHui movement.  They urge people to support Nan-Hui Jo in the following ways:

Support the movement to stand with Nan-Hui Jo

Pressure immigration officials to free Nan-Hui Jo

Donate to Nan-Hui Jo’s legal defense fund

For more information about the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign, visit 

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