This Mother’s Day, thousands of women will not spend it with their families because they cannot afford to pay their bail. For a third year, a national bail out initiative works to change that.
Across the country, organizations fund-raise to assist in the release of black mothers and caregivers who find difficulty in paying bail fees. From barbecues to bake sales, and continued protests at jails and prisons, the National Bail Out project puts up funds to get women out.
Although efforts take place year-round, the annual call-to-action around Mother’s Day, increasingly gains support. Mary Hooks, co-director of Southerners on New Ground (SONG) said on an interview with Democracy Now!:
“. . . we’re excited to kick off our third annual Black Mother’s Day Bail Out to continue to highlight the crisis of what’s happening to black women who are stuffed in cages because they don’t have money to pay their bail. We see that this growing movement is an indication that so many people want to see changes happen as it relates to pretrial detention. And this opportunity to bail out people and to collectivize our resources in order to do it is also an indication that many people are seeing that the solutions to the issues that are happening in our community actually lie within our communities.”
With continued campaigns, the National Bail Out bailout endowment has caught the ears of celebrities. On Friday, soul singer Raheem DeVaughn linked up with National Bailout DMV to bail out a black mother. After he helped in her release, he asked his social media followers to support the campaign’s efforts. Most of the money raised is one-the-ground small donations.
View this post on Instagram
Everyday this week, FreeBlackMamasDMV has been raising money & freeing Black Mamas because they shouldn’t be in cages. Then they enter a program to help them get back on their feet and an creative arts program. We freeing Mamas for Mother’s Day with @NationalBailOut lead by Black Women for Black Women! Hashtags: #DMVBailOut #FreeBlackMamas Link to donate: bit.ly/freeblackmamasdmv @lovelifedmv #thelovelifeway #randomactofkindness
Disrupting big profits in money bail out
In the US, an arrest is not a conviction. It is a practice in which law enforcement takes someone into custody who they accuse or suspect of committing a crime. Once they are processed they are given a court date. However, district attorneys often impose an agreement that property or money must be given to ensure that a person shows up for their court date. Often, the payments are exceedingly higher than many can afford. Some take out loans, which are bail bonds, but many do not meet the requirements to do so. Consequently, those who are legally, still innocent, must remain detained until their trial.
A report by Vox says that on any given day, about half a million innocent people sit in jails waiting for trial. Most of them are poor and people of color. For a growing group of justice advocates, this is a serious issue in the criminal justice system; hence the beginnings of a #FreeBlackMamas movement. The National Bail Out initiative started when a collective of activists, lawyers and organizers decided to address mass incarceration and the money bail system.
The collective groups have been relentless in addressing a mass incarceration issue that shows the fastest increasing population of those who are detained are Black women. Although, Black men still are disproportionately the highest group, mothers and women caregivers spiked; thus magnifying the vulnerabilities in under-represented communities. Hooks calls this issue a crisis.
She further explained:
“. . . we also show our love through the resistance that we bring to the streets and we bring to this issue, to continue to push policymakers–locally, statewide, nationally–to continue to listen to what we have to say and really take heed to the solutions and the community-based solutions, as we call for divestment from the courts, cops and cages and an investment in community-based resources and community-based support for our people.”
Ark Republic is an independent media company that provides a platform for free-thinking folk to tell stories as complex and colorful as possible. We need your help to keep the wheels churning and the stories flowing. Please become and member or donate to an organization dedicated to giving you stories that keep you informed.