Bail out Black Mamas for Mother’s Day

National Bail Out ramps up its Black Mama’s Bail Out campaign in more than 30 cities to help mothers who can’t afford to make bail get home to their families in time for Mother’s Day. – Illustration: Courtesy of National Bail Out

In more than two dozen cities across the country, mothers who cannot afford bail are getting help to go home

by N. Jamiyla Chisholm

From May 6 to Mother’s Day, May 12, the National Bail Out (NBO) collective is holding bailout events for its annual Black Mamas Bail Out campaign in more than two dozen cities, including Atlanta, Brooklyn, Detroit, Oakland and Philadelphia. NBO is a Black-led and Black-centered group of abolitionist organizers, activists and lawyers working to end systemic pretrial detention and mass incarceration.

Black Mamas Bail Out is an annual event that was launched in 2017 to bring attention to the more than 540,000 Americans who are locked up every day without being convicted of a crime, according to a recent Prison Policy report. The same report notes that incarceration rates for women of color are rising faster than those of men, particularly because they can’t afford bail. And 62 percent of them are mothers of minors.

“[We have] two commitments: to destroy the racist system of money bail and to bail out Black mothers, so they can celebrate Mother’s Day with their family,” Arissa Hall, project director of National Bail Out collective told Colorlines. “We’re talking about more than just birth mothers: caregivers, queer mamas, and the people responsible for taking care of our families and communities.”

As the organization reunites mothers with their families, it then pulls those same mothers into the political community. NBO also offers resources like backgrounders on the cash bail system, toolkits, webinars and fellowships for freed Black mothers.

“This is more than a direct service but an invitation to be part of our collective liberation,” said Hall. “That’s why we launched the Free Black Mamas Bail Out fellowship under the vision of Je Naè Taylor of Gilda Papoose Collective, and some of those mamas are helping to lead the bailouts this year.”

To contribute, go to https://nationalbailout.org/.

To see how NBO bailed out “more than 300 community members,” watch the video in the tweet below:

N. Jamiyla Chisholm, who can be reached via Twitter, @JamiylaChisholm, is a staff writer at ColorLines, where this story first appeared.