This Sunday is Mother's Day but unfortunately, many families across the country will encounter the holiday with their matriarch behind bars. According to a report generated by the ACLU, of the one million incarcerated women in the U.S, 30 percent of them are black. This despite the fact that black women make up only 13 percent of the overall female population. This week several black-led organizations have united to bail out mother's in more than a dozen jails across the country just in time for the holiday.
The Southerners on New Ground (SONG) organization in conjunction with the Movement for Black Lives and ColorOfChange, have raised more than $250,000 towards the release of women in Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles and several other cities. “When we talk about black mamas, we know that mothering happens in a variety of ways,” says Mary Hooks, co-director of the Atlanta-based LGBTQ organizing project SONG. “Whether it’s the mothers in the clubs who teach the young kids how to vogue, or the church mothers who took care of me," women who are birth mothers and chosen mothers are eligible to be bailed out.
According to The Nation, the initiative called National Mama’s Bail Out Day will free more than 30 black women currently detained for low-level offenses such as loitering or small-scale drug possession. The women, none of whom have been convicted, are in jail due to their inability to post bail while awaiting trial. “The National Black Mama’s Bail Out Day Action is part of the growing movement to end mass criminalization and modern bondage,” the SONG website states. “It is rooted in the history of Black liberation, inspired by the enslaved Africans and Black people who used their collective resources to purchase each other’s freedom. Through this action, we will support birth mothers, trans mothers, and other women who [are] mothers and are entangled in the criminal legal system.”
Click here to donate to the National Mama’s Bail Out Day fund.