As of Friday, six women in Charlotte have been bailed out of the Mecklenburg County Jail as part of “Black Mamas Bail Out Day.”
Organizers from Charlotte Uprising said that the goal was to bond the women out in time for Mother's Day. The mothers are separated from their children because they’ve been accused of a crime and have not been able to make bond.
On Friday, a spokesperson with Charlotte Uprising, Ashley Williams, said that the group needs help obtaining donations to support the women. Charlotte Uprising is asking the public for donations of clothes, toiletries, maternity clothes, money and vitamins.
"I’m excited about reuniting people with their families,” Williams said. The activist group has joined other cities nationwide to support “Black Mamas Bail Out Day.”
“We just want them to feel supported. And feel like we see them and love them; that they are a part of our community that's been missing,” said Williams.
Charlotte Uprising is new on the advocacy scene. Organizers got their start during the protests which followed the Keith Lamont Scott shooting in September. Scott was killed by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer during a parking lot confrontation.
Uprising has put their support behind social justice issues like housing, incarceration and policing.
In this effort, Charlotte Uprising has an ally in the Exodus Foundation, a well-established group which helps families heal from the effects of incarceration and offers re-entry support like mentoring and job networking.
Making bond is just one part of the process to really restore families. “We are honored to work collaboratively with this next generation of progressive leaders in finding alternatives to the cage for our social problems. We invite the bailed out mothers and others to our family reunification workshop and other workshops,” said Rev. Dr. Madeline McClenney, President and Founder of the Exodus Foundation.
The selection process is time-consuming. Uprising volunteers have come to court to make a list of candidates to bond out and learn about the cases. Williams said they are considering the charges and nuances of family situations in deciding each case.
The Mecklenburg County Jail has nearly 80 black women living behind bars as of May 8th, which is not quite half of the jail’s female population.
On Tuesday, Uprising wished to bring five mothers home to celebrate Mother’s Day with their loved ones.
Exodus Foundation will host a Restoration Redemption and Reentry Festival in the Park on May 20th. The event is free at Freedom Park. 9am-4pm For more information go to www.exodusfoundation.org to register at no cost.