Over 100 black women behind bars in the US received a very special early Mother's Day (14 May) present courtesy the Black Lives Matter movement. Groups affiliated with the cause stepped forward to put down bail money for women so that they could go back to their families in time to celebrate the special day.
Through the Mama's Bail Out Day campaign, social justice groups like Color of Change and Southerners on New Ground raised over $550,000 (£388,000) for the cause. While a chunk of the funds are being used towards paying bail, over $150,000 was channelled to use for various other services for the women being let out of prison.
The reason behind the campaign was to shed light on the large sums demanded as bail, that black individuals within poorer communities, would have a harder time paying. "The money bail system in this country is unjust and punishes people for being poor," Serena Sebring, a local organiser with Southerners on New Ground (Song) explained according to the Time magazine.
"Black people have a tradition of using our collective resources to buy each other's freedom," Mary Hooks, co-director of Song, added. "We have an opportunity to do that when we understand how the cash bail system works. The sooner we can get folks out, the ability for them to mitigate their cases increases and the less collateral damage they are likely to incur."
She explained that they choose to use the word "mama" in their campaign name to include more than just biological mothers. "When we talk about black mamas, we know that mothering happens in a variety of ways," Hooks said according to The Root. "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."
The various groups involved, plan to extend support to these released women to help them get back on their feet following their jail term and get the necessary advice in fighting their cases.