This Initiative Is Helping To #FreeBlackMamas So They Can Be With Their Children On Mother's Day

"When our Black mamas are imprisoned, our whole communities suffer."

Photo credit:@NationalBailOut/Twitter

| May 10 2019,

00:26 am

Mothers should not be separated from their children on Mother's Day. National Bail Out, a national collective of Black activists, organizers and attorneys, is ensuring incarcerated Black mamas who've been separated from their families due to unfair cash bail systems, are back with their babies this holiday.

At National Bail Out's inception, the goal was to educate folks about strains of the money bail system on Black families, and the importance of dismantling such a system that disproportionately impacts Black communities. National Bail Out organizer Mary Hooks, realized the U.S. criminal justice system doesn't only unfairly affect Black people, but it unfairly impacts Black mamas, and as a result -- their children.


Hooks, a queer Black woman, took National Bail Out's goal a step further when she conceived the idea #FreeBlackMamas for Mother's Day in 2017, shifting the focus to the rock of our communities -- Black mothers. Blavity spoke with Arissa Hall, project director for National Bail Out, about the need for a bailout system focused on primarily Black women. 

"Black mothers are the life and breath of our communities," Hall told Blavity. "They sustain us. The mamas, the aunties, the godmamas, the grandmamas -- they all sustain us. When our Black mamas are imprisoned, our whole communities suffer."  


National Bail Out's organizers, spanning across cities from Washington, D.C., to Miami, FL., to Oakland, CA., focus on educating our communities through narrative shifting. "We want to shift the narrative of our culture from punishment to restoration," Hall told Blavity.

National Bail Out is also cultivating change through educational programs, including the Black Mama's Fellowship program, launched last year.

When the fellowship began in August 2018, twenty bailed out Black mamas were selected to participate in an 8-week paid program. "Mamas in Philly were meeting mamas in Oakland, and mamas in Oakland were meeting mamas in New Orleans," said Hall.  The participating mamas were able to convene, and even meet and form relationships with the organizers who bailed them out.

In Hall's words, National Bail Out is "asking our people to help out our people." You can stay updated with National Bail Out's work @NationalBailOut and can contribute to the fight to free Black mamas at nationalbailout.org.

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