Free Bresha!

In this special bonus segment of Rustbelt Abolition Radio, we speak with long-time prison abolitionist Mariame Kaba about the Free Bresha Campaign.

The campaign is asking supporters to organize teach-ins to #FreeBresha during the week of April 10th-April 17th to raise awareness about connections between sexual violence and criminalization.

  • Here is a powerful curriculum, put together by Mariame Kaba, that you can use for teach-ins.
  • Please send photos from your teach-ins and they will publicize actions across the country to #FreeBresha and decriminalize survival (
  • Post #FreeBresha posters in your community, campus, organization, local storefronts, place of worship, etc.

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Episode Transcript:

Alejo Stark: In this special bonus segment of Rustbelt Abolition Radio, we speak with longtime prison abolitionist, Mariam Kaba, about the Free Bresha campaign.

Mariam Kaba: Bresha is a young girl from Warren, Ohio who last year in July killed her father, allegedly, in self defense. Her father had been abusive to her and her siblings and her mother for her entire life, very severe abuse, threats, always threatening to kill them.  She ended up terrified of him, she ran away from home a couple of times, was always returned back to her home and to her father, showing again that the system consistently fails people and then punishes them when they take matters into their own hands to preserve their freedom, to actually take care of themselves and defend themselves.  So she has been incarcerated since July of last year.  She was out for a couple weeks for evaluation at a mental health facility, she is now back incarcerated at the Trumbull County Juvenile Detention Center.  Prosecutors were considering trying her as an adult, which would have meant she would have faced 25 to life, because they charged her with second degree murder, and so in December they announced that they would keep her in the juvenile system, which is a big deal because that means they can only keep her until she’s 21. That’s still going to be six years, and if they do succeed in doing that, the Free Bresha campaign has been circulating petitions, organizing, raising money for her legal defense and insisting that the prosecutors drop all charges against her, that she has a right to self defense and they should not be criminalizing her for that.

Her pretrial hearing is  now scheduled for May 8, her trial date is May 22, in Warren, in Ohio, and so we want people to be paying attention to her case, continue to do so.  We are inviting people to be part of a week of action, a week of doing teach-ins on Bresha’s case, starting on April 10 and goes until April 17.  April 17th was the original date for her pre-trial.  They moved it back to May 8 but we’re still asking people to use that week of April 10-17, particularly as it’s going to be Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April to raise the important point that criminalization itself is sexual violence, and also that people should understand the role that sexual violence plays, again, in trajectories of people who end up criminalized by the system.

So we invite people around the country to go to to download the curriculum that I wrote and to have teach-ins around the country during that week, and if you can’t do I during that week do it anytime before her trial date, May 22.  We really, really are hoping that she is going to be free before then, but if she’s not, we hope that she’ll be free at the end of her trial.  We hope she’ll be validated and vindicated and allowed to go home and heal with her family.  So thank you for letting me talk a little bit about Bresha and her case and ways that people can get involved.  You can find out more ways to get involved by going to