Black Lives Matter groups bail black moms out of jail for Mother’s Day

This year, more than a dozen Black Lives Matter-affiliated groups participated in Mama’s Bail Out Day for Mother’s Day, working together to bail mothers out of jail so that they could spend the holiday with their children.

“The money bail system in this country is unjust and punishes people for being poor,” Serena Sebring of Southerners on New Ground, a queer-focused social justice group, explained. To that end, the dozen or so groups came together to raise $550,000 to bail out black women all across the US, with $345,000 going directly to bail money and the rest going to things like temporary housing or beauty appointments so that the mothers were able to feel human again for their day.

The groups spend the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day examining the rosters of those who were incarcerated and writing letters to women asking if they were caregivers or mothers. They also worked with clergy within the jails in order to determine what women were mothers and who would benefit most from being bailed out.

“We’re working with local public defenders, folks in the court system, service providers and families,” said Scott Roberts, senior criminal justice campaigns director at Color of Change. “If there are criteria, that’s determined on the local level.”

“We’re trying to go above and beyond to make sure they feel cared for and loved,” said Ashley Green, lead organizer of social justice network the Dream Defenders in Florida. “We’re taking them to get their hair done, their nails done, we’re making sure they have a clear place to stay, transportation to and from jail.”

“Anything that’s taking parents away from their kids long term is just setting up their kids for future failure.”