Philly ABC is back with our regular letter-writing events this month featuring Alex Stokes, an antifascist prisoner sentenced to 20 years for defending himself and others from armed Proud Boys at the New York State Capitol on January 6th.
Alex is a journalist and artist from Albany, NY. He began documenting social unrest in 2014, and was arrested with over 200 protestors and independent journalists during
#DisruptJ20 in Washington DC. He was injured during the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA, and has routinely attended Black Lives Matter protests in Albany throughout 2020. He also regularly exposed local white supremacist groups and members.
On January 6, 2021, multiple members of the Proud Boys—a nationwide far-right gang—gathered outside the New York State Capitol in Albany, NY in support of the larger “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington DC. A fight broke out with counter-protestors as one Proud Boy tased a Black man who had his hands in his pockets, and another beating a woman over the head with a flag pole. Alex was watching from the sidelines and ran to help those being attacked, at which point he was also assaulted and managed to fend off multiple attackers, injuring two of them, and helped get other victims away from the fray. The Proud Boys involved did not receive any charges. Alex was charged with first-degree assault, among other charges.
In November 2022, despite video evidence from multiple angles showing this very clear cut case of self defense, and despite the fact that no one died or received life-altering injuries, Alex was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison. His previous work and experience with exposing dangerous hate groups was inadmissible for his defense. The prosecution picked apart his social media accounts and portrayed his actions as premeditated. Alex is currently appealing the sentence. A fundraiser has been launched by the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund to ensure that his appeal case does not lack financial resources.
Join us this Monday at 6:30pm, at Iffy Books (319 N. 11th St. #3E). Snacks and letter-writing supplies will be provided. If you cannot make the event, please send Alex some love at:
Alex Contompasis #22B5028
Elmira Correctional Facility
PO Box 500
Elmira, New York 14901