This year the racial justice organizations raised over $500,000 according to Mother Jones, to bail out mothers in time to spend Mother’s Day weekend with their families. The project, called “Mama’s Bail Out Day” is seeking to reunite black mothers with their loved ones and “build community through gatherings that highlight the impact of inhumane and destructive bail practices on our communities,” according to the National Bail Out website.
Mama’s National Bail Out Day says they will work to bail out mothers– queer, trans, younger, elder, or immigrant. Their goal, to free mothers who are being held pre-trial simply because they cannot afford bail, is fighting back against one facet of a flawed justice system. The American bail system has been widely criticized for years, by everyone from judges to criminal justice activists to John Oliver. The organization Human Rights Watch published a report in April of 2017 detailing how California’s pre-trial detention and bail system unfairly punishes people who are poor.
A report by the Sentencing Project from 2014 showed that the number of women incarcerated has risen by 700% since 1980, with the number of incarcerated women in 2014 at 215,332, which was over ten thousand more women since 2010. The report also showed that African American women are more than twice as likely to be arrested than white women.
There are 18 cities officially participating in Mama’s Bail Out Day, including New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, and Baltimore. Seventeen organizations participated in the action, including Black Lives Matter, Color of Change, and Dream Defenders.
“We cannot raise our families in communities if our mamas are locked away,” says Ruth Jeannoel in a video posted to the National Bail Out site. “In cities all across the country, we are using our collective resources to free all our mothers.”
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