Essie Justice Group, a founding organization of the National Bail Out Collective, is gearing up to bail out as many California mothers and caregivers as possible for a fifth consecutive Mother’s Day.

According to recent study by the Vera Institute For Justice, incarceration in the country has quadrupled since the 1970s. Though the use of jails and prisons are being reimagined across the nation, the incarceration rate of women of color is on the rise.

In March, the California Supreme Court determined that cash bail was unconstitutional, citing that one’s freedom should not be conditional to one’s financial situation. However, courts across the state have not been practicing the new decision, according to local watchdog blog The Davis Vanguard. With state judges ignoring the ruling, Essie Justice organized a rally called Black Mama's Bail Out to advocate for their pretrial freedom.

During a Friday web event on Lunchtable, activists, women’s rights advocates, and other supporters came together for an afternoon dedicated to uplifting families affected by the damage of incarceration. Participants also received information regarding how they can support their loved ones.

“At Essie, we believe in the inherent dignity of all people. And that recognizing human dignity requires a world without caging,” Olka Forster, Essie communications manager, said in the livestream event. “We know that decarceration, real community safety, and justice for our people is possible.”

Leaders from throughout the collective spoke about the danger Black women and their family face as a result of the penal system.

“We know that it is Black women who are paying the cost of our injust bail system,” Gina Clayton-Johnson, Essie Founder and Director, said. "There’s a 64% decrease of household income that is associated with having a loved one inside. And so, when our judges are setting people’s bail beyond someone’s ability to pay, it doesn’t just affect the person who is incarcerated, it affects their entire family.”

According to its website, the National Bail Out (NBO) collective was founded to bring awareness and change to the “devastating harms and disproportionate impact that money bail and pretrial detention have on our communities as Black people.”

 As members of the communities most affected by the issue, the collective is specifically equipped and experienced to jointly evaluate and create solutions to address injustices.

“Our communities are the real experts and are best equipped to name the problems and mold the solutions. We work to make sure our people are out of cages and have the tools and resources they need to advocate for themselves!” NBO’s website reads.

This year, the organizations that make up the NBO collective are focused on three major priorities. The first is to bail out as many Black mamas from jail or prison as possible. The second priority is to build political community with those that have been bailed out by providing supportive services like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and stable housing. The NBO’s
final objective this year is to create a report that evaluates and provides insights their work, strategy and impact.