Lily Workneh, Huffington Post, May 10, 2017
Activists are banding together to help make this Mother’s Day special for as many incarcerated black women across the country as possible.
In the week leading up to the holiday, Black Lives Matter, Color of Change and a dozen other racial and criminal justice organizations are leading a charge to help bail out black moms. Their collective effort is part of a campaign called National Mama’s Bail Out Day, which aims to provide all incarcerated black women ― including those who identify as queer, trans, young, elder and immigrant ― who are unable to afford bail an opportunity to spend the special day with their families.
“No one — whether they’re a birth mother, an aunt, or a teacher — should have to spend Mother’s Day in a cell just because they can’t afford bail,” said Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change, in a statement sent to HuffPost. “For the first time ever, we’re sending that message through a national, coordinated day of action, awareness, and kindness, building on our efforts to fuel decarceration.”
“Money bail and the industry that profits from it has long been destroying our communities,” Robinson added, “so this Mother’s Day Black people across the country are going to reunite our families and demand an end to that system.”
Throughout the week, organizations in over a dozen cities ― including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, New Orleans, New York City and St. Petersburg, Florida ― will work with public defenders, community members, churches and other spiritual institutions to raise money to help bail out black mothers. They will also provide helpful resources to those released and host teach-ins that highlight the impact destructive bail practices can have on black families.
The number of incarcerated women has increased 700 percent since 1980. It also reports that black and transgender women are both disproportionately represented; black women are twice as likely to be put in jail than white women and 1 in 5 transgender women have spent time behind bars.
“Our mamas don’t deserve this. Our mothers are not disposable. Our mothers deserve restorative justice, healing and reconciliation,” Jeannoel says in the video. “Some of them have made mistakes. Some of them get caught up in the system despite their best efforts. All of them deserve to be home.”