More than 250 community members gathered to support survivors released this past year and to re-commit to fighting for the liberation of those who remain imprisoned. Released survivors Nora Andrade, Jeri Becker, Mary Ramp, Maria Suarez, and Melody Whitney shared their powerful and moving journeys to freedom ? and each implored the crowd to continue the struggle for justice for those they left behind.
Free Battered Women honored Senator John Burton and his aide, Anthony Williams, for their leadership in the fight for justice for incarcerated survivors. Senator Burton authored SB 1385, the bill sponsored by Free Battered Women that expands legal options for incarcerated survivors’ release. Assembly Member Mark Leno (co-author of SB 1385) presented Free Battered Women with a proclamation from the California State Assembly commending Free Battered Women for our work.
Poet and activist Roopa Singh wowed the crowd with her compelling expression of resistance against incarceration, “Cradle the Sky.” Youth Speaks poets Meilana Clay and Natalia Banderas brought the audience to their feet with their passionate expressions of outrage about the painful legacies of domestic violence.
The daughter of Vidalia Spragin, who died shortly after being granted compassionate release last year, spoke poignantly about prison conditions ? including contaminated water and sub-standard health care ? that contributed to her mother’s death. Family members of Flozelle Woodmore spoke about the pain surrounding the Governor’s recent reversal of Flozelle’s parole date. Family and friends of other incarcerated survivors asked for community support for their loved ones’ release.
Musical artist Anissa Primus Alston lifted the crowd’s spirits with her engaging performance, and a capella group Samsara tapped into the audience’s simultaneous feelings of grief and hope with their beautiful harmonies.
Throughout the afternoon, attendees had the chance to bid on wonderful artwork donated by currently and formerly incarcerated survivors of domestic violence. All proceeds from the art auction and sales of the “Our Voices Within” commemorative book benefit Free Battered Women.
We are grateful for all of the volunteers, co-sponsors, donors, performers, and contributors who made this celebration possible, and to all of the supporters who renewed their commitment to the struggle for justice for imprisoned survivors of domestic violence.
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If you could not attend the “Our Voices Within” event but would like a copy of the 2004 commemorative book, please send $15 (includes shipping/handling) to us at 1540 Market Street, Suite 490, San Francisco, CA 94102 (checks payable to “FBW/LSPC”), or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to order. Bulk orders and 2003 books available at a discount ? contact us for details.
Free Battered Women relies on the generous support of individuals for the majority of our funding. If you would like to support our efforts, you can make a secure donation through the Network for Good at www.freebatteredwomen.org (be sure to designate that your donation is for “Free Battered Women”).