This should not be necessary, but it is.
The idea for the Mother’s Day bailout, which will free at least 30 women in Atlanta, Houston, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and other cities nationwide, came out of a January gathering of representatives from 25 black-led organizations that wanted to collaborate on bail reform. The groups wondered how they might begin to put into action the vision outlined in the Movement for Black Lives policy platform released last summer. Mary Hooks, co-director of the Atlanta-based LGBTQ organizing project SONG, offered an idea she’d been developing with other activists who had noticed the disparate impact that money bail and jail-related fines and fees has on LGBTQ communities. Hooks’s campaign idea—what she describes as “using our collective resources to buy each others’ freedom”—was welcomed by the larger group. And because event organizers emphasize the ways race, class, and gender identity all play a role in criminalization, they have an expansive understanding of who qualifies as a mother. “When we talk about black mamas, we know that mothering happens in a variety of ways,” Hooks said. “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.” Women who are birth mothers and chosen mothers are eligible to be bailed out.