As I write these words about Bresha Meadows, I am pained that my only awareness and understanding of this beautiful child have developed in such a terrible context. I should have learned her name, her story, as it relates to some outstanding accomplishment — some feat of science or artistic contribution, or some story of achievement from her own chosen path of interest. I should not be learning that she, like so many young girls, women, feminine people, was forced to defend herself and others from life threatening abuse, and that she, like so many others, is now being criminalized for deciding, with finality, that she and her mother would survive that abuse.
I should not be learning that you have yet to release this child from jail.
Tell me: Why is this child behind bars?
I myself have experienced violent living situations. Surviving abusive living conditions is hard enough when people often don’t believe you, don’t care, and there are few if any resources available that might aid your escape. You live with it until you can’t any longer and that typically means you die trying to live. Bresha was brave, she was strong and she defended herself and her family against unrelenting terror in their home. She and her family should be receiving restorative care, support and love. Bresha should be free, and at home with her family to recover and process this trauma and to grow beyond it.
By keeping her caged you are sending a clear message to survivors everywhere: This system will lock you up if you dare to defend yourself. You are saying you do not care about the lives of young Black girls. You are saying you do not care if people who are experiencing abuse live or die. You are contributing to the vicious cycle of punishing survivors for staying alive.
You have time to change what you’re saying, but the suffering you are inflicting on this child and her family is immense. You need to act quickly to prevent more trauma, more pain. Do the right thing, listen to these letters if not your own conscience. Release Bresha Meadows. Jail is no place for anyone, let alone children. The recent reports and exposes on the exploitative and abusive conditions inside women’s detention centers, prisons and jails make me shudder to think about what this child must be going through.
I stand in solidarity with Bresha and demand that she is returned home to her family and furthermore that all charges against her are dropped immediately.
Until Bresha is free we will fight,