We invite all faith communities to take meaningful action to support Bresha Meadows’ freedom.
Child survivor of domestic violence, Bresha Meadows, recently turned 15 years old in jail. She needs the church to stand in solidarity with her right now. Here’s the situation:
- Bresha Meadows lived in a Trumbull County, Ohio home where she, her mother and siblings were abused by their father. At one point, Bresha’s father threatened her life and the lives of her mother and siblings.
- Bresha’s mother had been subjected to domestic abuse for 17-18 years.
- July 28, 2016 Bresha Meadows was arrested for allegedly shooting her father.
- Bresha was 14 years of age when this happened. She is currently in the Trumbull County Juvenile Justice Center. She turned 15 in jail.
- She ran away on several occasions; however, she was returned home as the police told her relative that they had to return her home otherwise they would be charged with kidnapping.
- Bresha was questioned about her father’s abuse of her and her mother in front of her father.
- She asked for help; however, the system (police, Jobs and Family Services) failed to assist her. At 14 years old she felt had no other option to end her family’s torment than to shoot her father in self-defense.
- The Trumbull County prosecutorsare deciding right now whether they will try Bresha as an adult; making her eligible for to be punished with death in prison, without possibility of parole.
- Bresha’s next court date is October 6th. At this time, prosecutors will make their decision.
Jesus said: “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea.” (Mark 9:42 NRSV)
As followers of Jesus, we must face the reality that our society put the stumbling block in Bresha’s path, now she is the one being threatened with a millstone around her neck. We must repent of the way we were not there for her. Her family wasn’t there for her. The police were not there for her. The child protective system wasn’t there for her. This 14 year-old girl was backed into a corner with only the roar of a ravaging lion in her purview. After all other resources were exhausted she took things into her own hands. We must repent. And we must call the Trumbull County prosecutors to exercise mercy—to treat this child as a child, to treat this survivor as a survivor—and to recognize just who was the oppressor in this case.
How to Take Action:
In the days leading up to Bresha’s October 6th court date, here are the ways your church and community can get involved:
October 2nd – #Pray4Bresha Sunday:
Take a moment to lift up Bresha during your worship service and prayerfully speak out against domestic violence and child abuse. Download Sojourners’ #Pray4Bresha Worship Guide for suggested prayers, readings, and resources.
October 5th– Local Vigil:
Encourage your family, friends, and faith community to organize a #Pray4Bresha vigil in your local church or area. Add your event to the Color of Change list of actions and vigils.
October 5th- Twitter Vigil (7pm-8pm EST):
Can’t make it to a local vigil? Join in digital solidarity to #Pray4Bresha with this online discussion hosted by Evangelicals for Justice (@Evang4Justice).
October 5th – Host a Vigil:
During the first week of October, supporters of Bresha are encouraged to host local prayer vigils in solidarity with Bresha and all survivors of domestic violence. We are especially aiming for vigils on Wednesday, Oct. 5, the night before Bresha’s next scheduled hearing (Thursday morning, Oct. 6). Add your vigil or event at this link.
Wed., Sept. 21: National Faith Leaders #Pray4Bresha Conference Call
Sojourners is hosting a call on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at Noon ET, to coordinate faith responses to stand with Bresha as an act of prophetic witness during the week leading up to Bresha’s next court date on Oct. 6. To RSVP and get call-in information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.