Mother’s Day is just around the corner, but sadly, many children must grapple with the fact that their moms are behind bars.
Of the 1 million women in the United States doing time, 30 percent of them are black, even though black women only make up 13 percent of the female population, according to a report released by the ACLU.
In order to reunite more African-American children with their mothers, black organizations have joined forces to bail out women in more than a dozen jails throughout the nation by Sunday.
According to Blavity, the group Southerners on New Ground (SONG) along with the Movement for Black Lives and ColorOfChange have together raised over $250,000 toward the effort to get women released in various cities, including Atlanta, Houston, and Los Angeles, among others.
The venture has been named “National Mama’s Bail Out Day,” and it's set to free more than 30 black women serving time for low-level crimes, such as loitering and minor drug possession.
None of the women who will be released as a result of the initiative have been convicted, however. They are simply behind bars because they can’t afford to post bail while they await trial, Blavity notes.
“When we talk about black mamas, we know that mothering happens in a variety of ways,” said Mary Hooks, co-director of SONG. “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.”
Mass incarceration is an ongoing issue in the U.S. and, unfortunately, impacts communities of color the most. This effort to bring black mothers back to their families is not only generous, but necessary.
“The National Black Mama’s Bail Out Day Action is part of the growing movement to end mass criminalization and modern bondage,” the SONG website reads. “It is rooted in the history of Black liberation, inspired by the enslaved Africans and Black people who used their collective resources to purchase each other’s freedom. Through this action, we will support birth mothers, trans mothers, and other women who [are] mothers and are entangled in the criminal legal system.”
Come Sunday, there will be dozens of happy little black girls and boys who will have their family matriarchs back for this special holiday.