Photo: GoFundMe

On Wednesday and Thursday, rallies were held in more than a dozen cities across the country—including Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles—to protest the treatment of Bresha Meadows, a 15-year-old black girl who sits in jail for allegedly killing her abusive father, Jonathan Meadows.

On July 28, Bresha, then 14, allegedly shot and killed her father with the gun he had often, reportedly, used to threaten the lives of his family members. Bresha’s mother, Brandi Meadows has since called her daughter a “hero” for putting an end to the abuse, which she says lasted two decades. Bresha faces aggravated murder charges that could carry a life sentence if she’s convicted as an adult.

News from organizers earlier this week that Bresha was on suicide watch at Trumbull County Juvenile Detention Center in Warren, Ohio revived protests and petitions demanding she be released from jail, and that the charges against her be dropped. On October 6, the Free Bresha Meadows Campaign announced that Bresha was no longer on suicide watch and had been returned to the general population. The campaign wrote in a statement, “We continue to worry about her mental health and wellness as long as she continues to be jailed.”

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Two months before her arrest, Bresha ran away from home. Bresha’s aunt said to WKBN in Cleveland that her niece had told relatives at the time that she feared for her life, “because her father was beating her mother and threatening to kill the whole family.”

Journalist Victoria Law told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! in August that Bresha’s aunt had reported the abuse to child services, but no help ever came. Law also stated that, according to Bresha’s mother, the abuse began when she was pregnant with her first child, 22 years ago.

Brandi told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in August that her husband’s abuse landed her in a hospital or outpatient facility 15 to 20 times over the course of their relationship.

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According to the Free Bresha Meadows Campaign (#FreeBresha), 15.5 million children in the United States are exposed to domestic violence, and a disproportionate number of girls and women incarcerated for defending themselves are black.

It’s a disgrace that Bresha is in jail, suffering and having to contemplate a life sentence for defending her family after a lifetime of abuse. Visit the #FreeBresha website to find out how you can take action.