Juneteenth/ Father's Day Bail Out is an ambitious effort to raise funds to free as many Brothers as possible from Denver-area jails in June 2018. The action is organized by Denver Justice Project & BLM 5280.
Friends--we thank you. Happy belated Father's Day, and Happy belated Juneteenth!
Thanks to you, our second Black Bail Out was a success. You met and surpassed our fundraising goals: you gave over $26,000 in new donations in June 2018, which was added to the over $11,000 in released bonds + late arriving Mother's Day gifts from May. This phenomenal amount allowed us to post bail bonds for 21 of our people (20 men + 1 young woman), freeing them from 5 Colorado jails June 14-19, 2018.
We bought freedom for our people from cages in Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas counties as we'd done for our Mamas and Sisters in May, and due to your generosity we were able to extend our reach beyond greater Denver and buy freedom for a young Brother from the Boulder jail too. Amongst many loving moments, it was particularly joyful to be able to welcome a queer Brother back into the community of free folk, as Denver’s Pridefest was underway just blocks from the cage from which he was freed.
Combining our Mother's Day Bail Out with June's action, we were able to welcome 35 of our people home and free from Colorado cages. Of those 35 people, several have already successfully resolved their court cases-we congratulate them! We pay all our people’s bail in full; we never utilize for-profit bail companies or bonds persons. The bonds we posted ranged from $10 (yes, TEN dollars) to $2,000; most were $500 - $1,000. The length of pre-trial jail stays ranged from a Brother held a heartbreaking 4 months on a $100 bond, to some of our folks who we were able to find and free within 4 days.
Their stories vary, but all of our people conveyed to our legal volunteers that they could not afford bail, that they consented to being bonded, and that were eager to rejoin the community while resolving their legal cases. We are thankful to every person who let us be a part of their liberation. Almost one fourth of the posted bonds have already been released to us and returned to the bond fund in just over one month. By being freed from jail our people were able to reunite with family, keep jobs, and met a number of personal goals. We know freedom ain't free, and for our folks still facing challenges we are honored to support them in securing the help they need to successfully resolve their legal issues. If they need us, and to the extent they want our support, we are here.
We didn't send a press release to local media for the Juneteenth/ Father’s Day Bail Out, but still the word was out: our efforts were featured in Denverite (https://denverite.com/2018/06/15/crowdfunding-bailouts-for-fathers-day-a-tougher-sell-than-mothers-day/), Westword (http://www.westword.com/news/inside-denvers-revolutionary-juneteenth-fathers-day-bail-out-10389538), and The Denver Post (https://www.denverpost.com/2018/06/16/fathers-day-bail-out/) amongst others. This coverage garnered us more donations and more volunteers and--most excitingly--more people reached out to refer folks who needed their bonds posted.
We remain focused on our goal: ending money bail in Colorado and in the United States. We know that cash bail is exploitative, ineffective, and penalizes those who are already most vulnerable and most over-represented in the criminal legal system. As we work to end money bail we must also work to mitigate its effects: your help with the Bail Out allowed us to free people being held in jail only because they are unable to afford bond, before they've even had their "day in court." Innocence until guilt is proven is supposedly a bedrock of the criminal legal system; remember: none of the men or women whose bonds we posted have stood trial for the offenses for which they have been charged, much less been convicted.
Father's Day and Juneteenth 2018 are over, but our Bail Out is still underway! Ours is a standing community bail fund: we continue to pay bail for our community members in need. As the court releases posted bonds, that money is returned to the fund. In August 2018 we will formally launch the standing bail fund under a new online home, but until then we will continue to use this Fundly to welcome donations to the bond fund.
Thank you to all who gave and who continue to support us to make our Black Bail Out a lasting success…exciting updates coming soon! In the interim, please keep an eye on http://www.BlackBailOut.org/ for updates on upcoming actions, the formalization and public presentation of the standing bail fund, and our ongoing efforts to abolish money bail. With your help, cash bail and its devastating effects will soon be a thing of the past in Colorado and beyond.
-In solidarity and love,
Elisabeth Epps, Denver Justice Project
+ Black Lives Matter 5280
P.S. For more information on nationwide efforts to end money bail, to find a bail fund in your area, or to launch a Bail Out action in your community, visit the National Bail Out Collective: https://nomoremoneybail.org/
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