#FreeBlackMamas: Join activists bailing out Black moms for Mother’s Day

#FreeBlackMammas thegrio.com

Did you know Thursday was National Black Mama’s Bail Out Day?

This week, a group of activists are participating in a national campaign to bail black mothers out of jail in time for Mother’s Day.

Their goal is simple: Bail out as many Black mothers as possible, who would otherwise be in a cell on Mother’s Day just because of their inability to make bail.

“Black mothers should be with their families on Mother’s Day, not in jail waiting for a trial simply because they don’t have the means to buy their freedom,” Tarsha Jackson, director of the Texas Organizing Project’s Right2Justice program, said Thursday.

“We are taking a stand against a money bail system that tears families apart and punishes our loved ones for being poor. Justice shouldn’t be available only to those who can afford it.”

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Participants in Nashville also got involved working through Southerners On New Ground (SONG), “a regional Queer Liberation organization made up of people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, working class and rural and small town, LGBTQ people in the South,” to drive the effort. A release from the group says they plan to greet the women as they’re bailed out and connect them to community resources.

The National Bail Out collective was established in May 2017 as a collaborative effort between many Black community organizers and organizations across different states. According to their site, the National Bail Out is hoping to “push against mass criminalization” and aside from freeing these mothers they also provide additional financial support once they are released.

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In 2016 The Atlantic reported that approximately 60 percent of people American jails have yet to go to trial, and around nine in ten of them remain incarcerated because they cannot afford to pay for their freedom.

This is exactly why initiatives like National Black Mama’s Bail Out Day are so important. These are the mothers that the system continues to forget.

In Texas, as the women left the jail, groups of volunteers involved in the project gave them care packages and information geared toward helping the women connect with the services they need before trial.

Since the program was created last year, the National Bail Out collective has raised almost a million dollars in donations from over 14,000 people, and helped 188 people pay bail and return home to their families from May to September.

“Black people are often accused and put in cells based on discriminatory and racially biased policies and monitoring,” reads a SONG release.

“Cash bail frequently keeps Black people in cells because of their inability to pay. When mothers languish in jail because of money bail, our families and communities suffer. The costs are devastating. Women often lose their jobs, housing or even children only to be found innocent. Some women, like Sandra Bland, have lost their lives. The cost to the children Black women nurture, the partners they love, and the communities they hold is incalculable.”

“The jail population is one of the leading drivers of mass incarceration in this country,” Sandra Guerra Thompson, the director of the University of Houston’s Criminal Justice Institute, told the Dallas County Commissioners Court back in February. “That’s why [bail reform] has become such a big civil rights issue.

Thompson believes money bail skews the justice system toward helping people who are doing well financially, rather than actually protecting the community before a defendant goes to trial.

“A money-based system is going to hold the wrong people in jail and let the wrong people out,” she said.

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If you would like to donate to this amazing project, check them out here.