Written by Jackie Anderson, lay leader at All Souls
Published by Rev. Kayla, Minister of Congregational Life
For me, one of the great, good benefits of being part of the All Souls community is that we are capable of taking ourselves right to our growing edge — and we are capable, and often willing, to stand together to keep ourselves right at that growing edge no matter how difficult it may be. Getting involved with the Babies and Bailouts project just recently has taught me a lot very, very fast and I have so much more to learn and absorb.
The National Bail Out program began the Free Black Mamas campaign a few years ago to bring attention specifically on Mother’s Day to the situation of mothers who are held pre-trial detention because they cannot afford bail.
This year Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU) has created a campaign called Babies and Bailouts to provide a UU perspective for our faith tradition — and to provide us with a continuing way to learn and work to end the cash bail system. A very short summary of this absurd system of cash bail is:
- People who are accused of non-violent crimes are put into cages before any trial or conviction has occurred and their only way out is through the cash bail system;
- The majority of these non-violent cases are dismissed before trial;
- People who cannot afford bail admit to things they did not do just to get themselves out of the cage — but now are stuck with having admitted to a crime;
- Studies have shown that the cash bail system is no more effective at getting people to show up for their trial date than being sent a simple text message on their phones;
- The cash bail system is a money-making enterprise and that enterprise functions to lobby against its elimination where municipalities have worked toward reform.
I feel my ignorance has made me complicit in this system and I intend to end that. I am grateful that my involvement here has led me to Allies for Racial Equity (ARE) within our UU tradition and am so very pleased with what is already available there.
We have so much more to do together.
Let’s start by joining together tomorrow, on Friday, May 10th at 6pm. We’ll meet upstairs in the Beattie room to learn from a recorded video panel of black women who have been affected and/or have organized around this issue. We’ll be hosting this event in partnership with Heartland Unitarian Universalist Church and Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis. Join us to learn, and bring your checkbook or some cash so we can raise money to bail some mom’s out of jail! We’ll provide the learning, facilitated discussion and snacks.