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