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National Mama’s Bail Out Day: Ahead of Mother’s Day, national coalition will reunite incarcerated Black women with their families and highlight inhumane bail practices



NEW YORK— The week before Mother’s Day, more than a dozen national and local racial and criminal justice organizations will bail out Black “mamas”—mothers and other transgender and cisgender women—who would otherwise spend Mother’s Day in a cell because they are unable to afford bail. The National Mama’s Bail Out Day will give these incarcerated women an opportunity to spend Mother’s Day with their families, highlight the impact of inhumane and destructive bail practices on Black communities, and support local organizing efforts against mass incarceration.
“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, one of Bail Out Day’s national partners. “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, so this Mother’s Day Black people across the country are going to reunite our families and demand an end to that system.”
In over a dozen cities, local organizations will work with public defenders, impacted communities, and faith and spiritual institutions to bail out as many Black mamas as possible the week before Mother’s Day. Partner organization will also plan homecoming and teach-ins to support those released, and raise community awareness about the need to end money bail through storytelling, politicizing, and relationship building.
“Our organizations are fighting to end money bail and to bail out mothers who should be with their families this Mother’s Day. But we are also building community support and reimagining what it means to fight for and care for each other. In this time of heightened threat and increasing criminalization from state and federal actors, we are relying on our communities to free ourselves and hold our people, explained Erica Perry, from Black Lives Matters Memphis. 
Originally proposed by Southerners on New Ground, the National Mama’s Bail Out Day will raise awareness of the human and financial costs of money bail and emphasize its impact on Black mothers and caregivers. Every day nearly 700,000 people are incarcerated solely because they can’t pay money bail, despite often never being charged for a crime. Eight in ten women in jail are mothers and many of the Black women serving pre-trial detention have been accused of minor drug and “public order” offenses that disproportionately target Black people.
“Mamas are the backbone of our communities. In all of our varieties. Queer, Trans, Old, Young, Immigrant. And we are targeted. One in two Black trans women have spent time in jail. And Black women are twice as likely as white women to be caged. We must demand and fight for the ending of money bail and destructive policies that keep putting us in cages and separating us from our communities. We are the ones who take care of and hold down our families, chosen and biological. When we, Black women and Black mamas are taken from our communities we all suffer,” said Southerners on New Ground Co-Director, Mary Hooks.  “We do this in the tradition of our people who have gone to every length to attain freedom. We are freeing as many Black women from cages as we can because our people are being held hostage and cash bail is ransom.” 
Participating cities will include Oakland, Los Angeles, St. Petersburg, Montgomery, New Orleans, Memphis, Durham, Atlanta, Chicago, Little Rock, Charlottesville, Charlotte, Kinston, Birmingham, New York City, and Baltimore. Participating organizations include Color of Change, Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, Movement 4 Black Lives Policy Table, Law for Black Lives, Ella Baker Center, Essie Justice Group, LA CAN, Dream Defenders, The Ordinary People’s Society, Project Jackson, Dignity and Power Now, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Texas Organizing Project, Black Lives Matter Memphis, Southerners On New Ground, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), Black Lives Matter Oakland.
Some local organizations are focusing on specific bail reform issues. For example, in some cities, organizers are focusing on bailing out queer and transgender mamas, who are at the greatest risk of being impacted by criminalization and money bail. In others, organizers are connecting their actions with support for ongoing reforms—for example, in California local organizers are working to pass a statewide bill that would enact bail reform.
“Mother’s Day is the one day per year where we get to uplift what mothers really want, and I think for Black mothers an honest answer is freedom. That means freedom from the claws of a predatory bail industry and freedom from the cell of a jail,” said Gina Clayton, Executive Director of Essie Justice Group, an organization co-sponsoring the 2017 California Bail Reform Act. “In the US 1 in 2 Black women has a family member incarcerated. We hope that our action will send a clear message that Black women and those who love us are done being the vulnerable targets of the bail industry.”
Ahead of Mother’s Day, will host videos that highlight the impact of bail on mothers and caregivers. The official website will also serve as a resource and campaign hub for local bail and canvassing efforts, as well as a portal for donations.
For more, visit
Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over one million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Visit


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