Dear Dennis Watkins,
My name is Ashley Williams and I am writing to demand that you release Bresha Meadows from jail immediately and drop the charges against her. I live in Charlotte, North Carolina in a community that has been negatively impacted by youth being removed from my community as a result of over policing. I live in a community rich with LGBTQ youth, undocumented families, and young, blended families. As a community, we know firsthand what it is like to experience being (over)policed by folks who are not aware of our individual struggles or our communal struggles. We have been able to gather strength and power among ourselves as we have come together to figure out ways to protect and serve ourselves. After becoming aware of Bresha’s story of experiencing abuse and now criminalization, I felt obliged to write you about why I think she ought to be free.
Bresha Meadows was left with no other options but to protect herself and her family from her abusive father. I fully support the ability of black and brown girls to defend themselves by any means and I strongly condemn and decry the conditions that brought upon the death of Jonathan Meadows. Bresha should be free because she was acting in self defense and in defense of her family who had been terrorized by Jonathan Meadows.
I demand that you recognize that Bresha had no other option but to kill her abusive father. Even her mother acknowledged her act as courageous. Bresha should be free because she is a child. She is a victim of the violence of her father. She deserves to heal, with her family, freely. She should not be criminalized for standing up for herself and her family.
The consequences of the detention and incarceration of adults are even more insidious in the case of children. Children and adults who are incarcerated experience mistreatment by guards and prison staff, they also experience emotional trauma of processing violence in a hostile environment. Bresha and her family deserve to move forward from this situation with the utmost support. You have the power to see to it that Bresha is released and the charges against her are dropped. You have the power to not allow another black girl to be criminalized by a system that wasn’t able to protect her in the first place. You have the power restore justice to a situation where justice has been withheld from the very beginning.
Charlotte, North Carolina