Torraine Walker


This Initiative Bailed Black Mamas Out Of Jail For Mother’s Day

These women are disproportionately penalized by the system.

Mary Hooks (L), Kate Shapiro (R). Photo by Torraine Walker

The first woman released from the Fulton County Jail on a hot afternoon had a wide smile as she was guided to a table set up at a small, shaded rest area near the entrance. She was greeted with hugs, given a brown bag lunch and bottled water, then invited to sit and eat while “Fight the Power and “Freedom played on loudspeakers. Later, she was given a transit card and a ride to a nearby station by a volunteer.

Over the course of the afternoon, more and more women emerged from the jail and received the same treatment. They all had similar stories: They had been arrested for petty offenses like trespassing, loitering, and urban camping. They were all unable to make bail. And they were all black.

The action was part of the Black Mamas Bail Out, an initiative started by several groups including Black Lives Matter, Color of Change, and Southerners On New Ground (SONG) to bail out black mothers in time for Mother’s Day weekend, women who the groups feel are disproportionately penalized by the system of cash bail.

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