Meek Mill isn't the only Philly household name trying to fight for social justice. The Philadelphia Eagles are working to do the same, having helped a number of their fellow Philadelphians secure their release from jail.
According to HuffPost, the 2018 Super Bowl champions posted $50,000 in bail Monday, releasing nine people from jail. Half of the money was raised directly by the team; the other half came from a matching contribution from the Eagles Social Justice Fund. The money was put to use by the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund, an organization working to reform the cash bailout system.
Philly community coming together! Today, @playercoalition worked w @phillybailout @PhillyDefenders, & @eagles to help #EndCashBail. 9 people were bailed out & 15+ Philly nonprofits provided resources to them & their families in need. pic.twitter.com/4euA0jf7xZ— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) November 26, 2018
Although the identities of the freed individuals have not been released, one was only 17 years old.
“The cash bail system punishes poverty and … punishes people of color at a grossly disproportionate rate,” Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Some people say we need the system to make our community safe — but as you can see here with these groups, we have everything we need to make our community safer, when we decide to invest in people and wrap our arms around people, as opposed to locking them up."
Jenkins is the co-founder of the Players Coalition. The group reached an agreement with the NFL in the wake of the #TakeAKnee protests that saw the league promise to provide money to forward social justice issues.
One of the first players to take a knee, Eric Reid, got into a https://blavity.com/eric-reid-confronts-sellout-malcolm-jenkins-over-takeaknee-protests">verbal altercation with Jenkins over the agreement this season. Reid believes the Players Coalition agreed to halt its participation in the #TakeAKnee protests in exchange for a donation from the NFL. Jenkins has pushed back against this allegation.
Regardless of how the Eagle's bail program came about, it is clear Philly has one of the U.S.' highest incarceration rates, according to the Vera Institute of Justice. Data from Princeton show both Black and white judges typically set Black defendants at higher bail amounts. Furthermore, a University of Baltimore study found poor defendants in the city are persuaded by officials to enter guilty pleas at a rate 13 percent higher than defendants of greater financial means.
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