Home for the Holidays!

It’s been quite a year for the Colorado Freedom Fund. In May 2018 we worked to bring our Mamas home for Mother’s Day. In June 2018 we came together to bring our Brothers home for Father’s Day/Juneteenth. We are building with others working to End Money Bail in Colorado and beyond. Now with community support we are working to bring as many of our neighbors Home for the Holidays!

Please join us December 1 at the home of Nick and Jessica Swanson for a fundraiser to benefit Colorado Freedom Fund. $20 donation suggested. You must Click HERE to RSVP in order to receive event location details.

More details: CFF Home for the Holidays (Facebook event invite). Freedom ain’t free, but it’s worth it!

Colorado Freedom Fund

Happy 4th of July from the Colorado Freedom Fund! On a day when many Americans celebrate Freedom, we at the Denver Justice Project celebrate liberation and honor all revolutionaries, past and present, working for abolition in Colorado and beyond.

With your love and support, in May we bought freedom for 17 of our Mamas and Sisters for Mother’s Day. In June we welcomed 18 more of our folks out of Colorado cages for Father’s Day and Juneteenth. Now, in July we hunker down to organize, support our freed folk, build, and to prepare for August–when we present the Colorado Freedom Fund to our community!

As we have said since May 2018, our Mother’s Day and Father’s Day actions were the public face of work to establish a standing revolving bail fund in Colorado committed proudly to uncompromising abolition. The bail outs were successful, but they were just the beginning. We at the Denver Justice Project did not set out to just *pay* bail, we set out to *end* bail.

The Colorado Freedom Fund is the result of the constituent-led work that Front Range Colorado activists have been building for years. We are proud of what we’ve accomplished together, and are honored to work towards our community goals: (1) ending money bail in Colorado; while (2) mitigating its harmful effects on our people, until cash bond is a thing of the past.

Note: While we are not hosting a formal Bail Out action in July 2018, our revolving bond fund has existed since May 1, 2018 and remains available to folks in need. We are able to pay cash/surety bonds up to $500.* Email CFF project manager Elisabeth Epps ee@ColoradoFreedomFund.org to refer a person in a Colorado cage who needs help posting bond. (All bonds posted are done as gifts, there are no loans or conditions attached.)

Have a wonderful July-we will see you in August!
-DJP/BLM, Colorado Freedom Fund

*As of August 2018, we are able to pay up to $500 per person. As we expanded our reach and are posting at more Colorado jails, we had to adjust our per person maximum. If a person’s bond is more than $500 but they or their friends/family are able to post the difference above $500, we can contribute $500 towards the total bond as long as we sign as surety. Contact CFF project manager Elisabeth Epps at (720) 263-0111 ee@ColoradoFreedomFund.org for more information.

Revolutionary Bail Outs.

Inside Denver's Revolutionary Juneteenth/ Father's Day Bail Out.

We don’t like the chosen photo-we see more than enough shackled Black and Brown bodies in real life–but we love the word revolutionary, because that is exactly what Black Love is: revolutionary.

Thank you Mike Roberts @ Westword for telling the story of abolitionist work in Colorado.

Denver: Juneteenth/ Father’s Day Bail Out.

DENVER, CO: June 6, 2018. Denver Justice Project and Black Lives Matter 5280 are pleased to announce the launch of the 2018 Juneteenth/ Father’s Day Bail Out.

Denver’s 2018 Juneteenth/ Father’s Day Bail Out is part of a national movement to end cash bail in the United States. Coordinated by the Denver Justice Project and BLM 5280, in solidarity with activists nationwide committed to collective liberation, our goal is to raise at least $30,000 and to buy freedom for as many Brothers as possible from Colorado cages June 14-19, 2018.

Thanks to community support and outpouring of love, in May 2018 we raised over $20,000 which enabled us to post 17 bonds to free 14 Mamas from cages in 5 Denver area jails for Mother’s Day 2018.* Our Mama’s Day Bail Out was a success, but it was just the beginning.

Carrying the Mama’s Day love forward, we launched Juneteenth/ Father’s Day Bail Out in the spirit of our ancestors who fought for and bought freedom.

We dedicate this action to the memory of Michael Marshall (pictured above), to his family, and to the memories and families of all those who know the indignity and injustice of being caged unjustly. In 2015 sheriff’s deputies killed Michael Marshall in the Denver jail. Michael was loved, valued, and should never have been jailed on the $100 bond that confined him to a cage for his last days.

Our focus is on Brothers trapped in Colorado cages due to the unjust system of pay-to-play civil liberties. Like Michael Marshall, these men have not been convicted of the crimes for which they are charged, haven’t yet had their “day in court”, and remain in jail pre-trial only because they cannot afford bond.

How the June Bail Out will work:

1) We will focus first on posting bonds for Black, Brown, and Indigenous Brothers in honor of Father’s Day (June 17, 2018) and continuing through Juneteenth (June 19, 2018).

2) We further prioritize our incarcerated LGBTQI Brothers as they are routinely victimized in the jail setting. In regard to cisgendered men, we prioritize fathers, elderly and those with disabilities as they are also routinely victimized while caged.

3) In addition to reviewing public jail rosters, we have reached out to attorneys (private counsel, court appointed and public defenders) in Denver and surrounding counties for referrals to identify people who can be bailed out.

4) The bonds we will post range from $100 to $2,000 and will be paid in full in cash. We do not and will not utilize the services of for-profit bail/bonds companies. Instead, we post entire bonds, not just the 10 percent that would be paid through a bail bond company.

5) Funds raised will be used to buy freedom for Brothers from any/all Denver-area jails (Denver + Aurora jails, as well as Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties) and to keep our families together.

6) NOTE: When defendants appear for court, eventually their bonds are released; those posted bonds will be returned to the bail fund and be reallocated to Denver’s standing community bail fund, launching summer 2018.

***If YOU know someone in a Denver area cage that can be helped by our Bail Out efforts, please contact us at team@BlackBailOut.org.***

Happy Mother’s Day- Thank You!

DENVER, CO. UPDATE: The love from our community for our Mamas Day Bail Out was overwhelming: 414 supporters donated over $20,000, which enabled us to post 17 bonds to bail 14 Mamas out of 5 jails from May 10-12, 2018. Thank you! We consider the Mother’s Day action a success. But that success is just one step towards a more just community, a community free of exploitative money bail.

Our goal is to see an end to money bail entirely, and to that end we will continue to press for legislative action even while we continue to host Bail Outs. Look out for Denver’s Juneteenth/Father’s Day Bail Out, coming in June 2018. On we press!

Denver Black Mamas Bail Out.

DENVER, CO.  UPDATE: Thanks to your generosity, on May 10, 2018 we posted 11 bonds totaling $9,670 to bail 9 Mamas out of 4 jails. Many women are still waiting for our help in order to rejoin their families before Mother’s Day, so we still need your support to reach our goal of freeing 20 Mamas. [Donate here.] On we press!On May 1, 2018, Colorado organizers with the Denver Justice Project (DJP) and Black Lives Matter 5280 (BLM) launched Black Mamas Bail Out, an ambitious campaign to free as many Mamas from Denver area jails as possible in time for Mother’s Day, 2018. On May 10, after 9 days of intense efforts to raise funds and awareness, we began posting bonds to free women from Denver area jails. Our focus is on Black, Brown, and Indigenous Mamas, but we never limited the scope of our effort by Race.

On this first day of actually bailing out Black Mamas, we were at the jails for over 17 hours; from 7:00am to past midnight we posted 11 bonds for 9 women. DJP + BLM organizers and legal volunteers were humbled to be able to personally welcome 2 women warmly as they rejoined us on the outside; as of midnight May 10, 2018-7 of the 9 women whose bonds we posted were still awaiting release, although bonds had been posted in some cases more than 12 hours earlier.

We provided period kits and RTD light rail/bus transit passes courtesy of our friends at JeffCo CAN and I Support the Girls, and we gave the women car rides to their destination: one went to a day shelter and was connected with a licensed therapist who is helping her begin the jarring reunion with the un-caged world after five months in jail; the second woman went to her mother’s home-another mother thrilled to be reunited with her family before Mother’s Day.

On our first day of posting bonds, we paid $9,670 cash for bonds + fees (Jefferson, Arapahoe, Adams, and Douglas all charge $10 bonding fees; Douglas charges an additional $30 jail fee) to buy 9 women’s freedom from 4 of 5 Front Range Colorado county jails. Some of the women we located via searching online public inmate databases, others were referred to us by their dedicated public defenders:

  1. Douglas, CO: bailed out 2 Black women (2 bonds, $1,580);
  2. Arapahoe, CO: bailed out 5 women including an Afro-Latina mama being held on a Jefferson, CO charge (7 bonds, total $6,070);
  3. Adams, CO: posted bonds for 2 Black women (2 bonds, $2,020).

On Day 2 of bond-posting (May 11, 2018) we will begin to post bonds at the Front Range jail that cages the most people: Denver Downtown Detention Center, and we will continue posting bonds in the surrounding counties as financial resources permit.

Thank you to everyone who donated, gave of their time, provided supplies, spread the word, referred clients, offered rides, media who interviewed and covered our efforts…thank you to everyone who has helped us in this endeavor.

Our Colorado-based Mother’s Day Bail Out was inspired by Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler and Brother Jeff Fard, and motivated by our friends with the National Bail Out Collective, who assisted with everything from logistical support to powerful imagery (like the beautiful flyer above).

We will work to finally end the exploitative, racist, unjust cash bond/bail system. Until we abolish money bail, we will continue to buy each others freedom as Black people and abolitionists have been doing since America’s earliest days. Please help us reach our goal of raising $20,000 and posting bonds to free 20 Mamas by Mother’s Day [Donate today.]

In solidarity, DJP + BLM5280

Black Bail Out: Mother’s Day Update.

Wow! Day 7 = 6 days down, 6 days to go! What a week it’s been; what a week we have ahead. We are just over the half way mark in our 13 day countdown to Mother’s Day 2018, AND we are over halfway at our fund-raising goal.

KEY UPDATES (thanks to your feedback and support):

  1. added contact info (Email DJP) for inmate referrals;
  2. YES we can now post bond in all greater Front Range facilities (money permitting). If you have a loved one or client caged in Denver or now Jefferson, Adams, Arapahoe, or Douglas Counties we are now available to post bonds of $1,000 or less in all of these counties.
  3. YES you can now donate to the bond fund via check. Make payable to “Elisabeth Epps/Black Bail Out.” (EE = Black Bail Out account administrator) Mail to: Black Bail Out c/o Elisabeth Epps P.O. Box 6271 Denver, CO 80206-0271.

___

JOYFUL UPDATE. Today, May 7 = Day 7 of Denver Mama’s Day Bail Out. We are close to our funding goal, and with your help, Black Mothers who have been too long in cages may be closer to Freedom.

We launched BlackBailOut.org on May 1, a bold collaborative effort to Free as many Black Mamas as possible from Denver area jails in time for Mother’s Day—May 13, 2018. We are humbled to carry forward the labor of love Nita Mosby Tyler, Jeff Fard, Timothy Tyler and supporters gifted us for Mother’s Day / Father’s Day 2017.

As of today, as we pass the halfway mark of our Mother’s Day campaign (Day 7 of 13), we are excited to report that we have raised more than half of our audacious goal of $15,000 to post bails/bonds for Women who cannot afford to pay for their own release from Denver area jails.

Yes we are excited and encouraged, but we are not resting, because what we raised so far is not enough. There are so many women in local jails only because they cannot afford to pay bail/bond—so many women working and wanting and waiting to get free.

In our first 6 days of the www.BlackBailOut.org campaign, we:
• raised over $8,000 to bail women out of jail;
• garnered the support of over 200 individual donors (donations ranging from $5 to $1000; EVERY dollar counts);
• expanded our reach from Denver Downtown Detention Center to ALL Front Range CO county jails (Jefferson/ Douglas /Adams /Arapahoe);
• secured certain post-release services;
• connected with the indefatigable organizers and activists at National Bail Out Collective;
• engaged dozens of volunteers:
• our legal volunteers visited 4 jails (and counting) for in-person visits to meet with women we hope to bail out, to offer our consent-based assistance with posting bond;
• volunteers beyond the legal profession are continuing to secure transportation, meals, prepare menstrual kits…
• and so much more.

There is no way to justly ‘reform’ the American bail/bond system. The only meaningful reform is abolition: we must #EndMoneyBail. But until we end the exploitative cruel system of cash money bails/bonds, we must work daily to free our Sisters, Mothers, Brothers…from these state cages.

Black people and abolitionists of ALL races have worked together for hundreds of years to buy each other’s freedom: that work continues to this day.

Help us reach our goal, help us raise the $15,000 needed to post hopefully at least 20 bonds in full and to free 20 Black women in time for Mother’s Day. Help us surpass that goal: keeping in mind for each bond we pay $10 bond fees, $30+ jail fees, and 8% processing fee on every donation. [Give today.]

Whether we fall short or surpass our fundraising goal, we will pay for the Freedom of as many women as we can. When those women appear for their court dates and bonds are released, the returned funds will be redeposited into the bail/bond fund for a Juneteenth/ Father’s Day Action and beyond.

Mother’s Day is only the beginning. This action is not a one time event. We are working to create an established community revolving bond fund with the guiding principle that no one should have to languish in jail waiting for their court date only because they cannot afford to buy their own freedom.

THANK you to all who sent warm words of encouragement, donated time/money/resources, volunteered, spread the word. THANK YOU for proving the adage true: indeed we do take care of our own.

We are all we got, but that’s more than enough: WE GOT THIS, WE GOT US.

What a week it has been, and what a week we have ahead. With 6 days down and 6 to go we are well on track…but we still have so much work to do.

Please continue to GIVE, SHARE, and please contact us directly (message me, or email DenverJusticeProject@gmail.com) if you know of a vulnerable woman with a bond $1,000 or less who we can help get free in greater Denver/Front Range, CO.

In Solidarity and Struggle,
Elisabeth Epps,
a Black Mama

Denver, CO: Mama’s Day Bail Out 2018

Denver, CO: Thur. May 10 – Sun. May 13, Colorado organizers and activists will post cash bonds to free Black Women being held in Denver area jails on low dollar amount bonds, in time for Mother’s Day 2018.

image via nomoremoneybail.org
Mama’s Day Bail Out is part of a national movement to end cash bail in the United States. The Colorado action is coordinated by the Denver Justice Project and Black Lives Matter 5280, in solidarity with activists nationwide committed to collective liberation. Our focus is on Black women and mothers trapped in the unjust system of pay-to-play civil liberties.

In years past, individuals in Denver rallied to free Black Mamas from jail; 2018 marks a coordinated collaboration among organizations to free as many Black Women as possible. We were inspired by Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler and Brother Jeff Fard, who bailed Black Mamas out of Denver jail in May 2017, and who were gracious enough to let us carry that work forward when we approached them for their blessing in 2018.

Our goal is to raise at least $20,000 and to free at least 20 women-potentially more, depending on who is in custody May 9-13, 2018 and what bond amounts are holding them. The bonds we will post generally range from $100 to $1,000 and will be paid in full in cash, not using bondsmen. When Women appear for their court dates, eventually their bonds are released, posted bonds will be returned to DJP/BLM and 100% of the returned bonds will then be reallocated to Black Dad’s Bail Out in time for Father’s Day, June 2018.

This Mother’s Day we ask you to give what you can, in dollars or attention, to this campaign. Countless advocates in cities across the United States are working tirelessly to end the exploitative cash bail system. Donate today!

Donate now to help us #FreeBlackMamas!