Moms across the country who are behind bars are being freed for Mother’s Day. This is thanks to a global effort called the “Free Black Mamas” campaign run by the National Bail Out organization. A local group is joining the effort right here in Ingham county.
“You have women who are sitting in jail sometimes for as little as $100,” said Black Lives Matter Lansing Co-Founder Angela Waters-Austin. This is because these women don’t have money or resources to bail out of jail.
“You’re sitting in a cage,” said Waters-Austin. “Who’s gonna come and save you.”
That’s where the Black Lives Matter Lansing organization is stepping in. They brought three women home last year for Mother’s Day and this year, one so far.
BLM Lansing is helping the women get safe housing, food, clothing and even meeting their mental health needs to make sure they stay free.
“If they can be with their children on Mother’s Day, I think that’s just a little light at the end of the tunnel to say okay I got some hope,” said A.R.R.O program supervision Kendra Milton. “Now once they get out and say okay now where do I go, because this is just step one.”
The A.R.R.O program also helps people with step two. A.R.R.O stands for advocacy, reentry, resources, and outreach. Employees help connect individuals who have a criminal record to quality resources in order to ensure successful community integration.
Milton said, “When they don’t have anybody supporting them or anybody helping them, it makes it hard to do things the correct way and legal way.”
A.R.R.O offers these services for free.
“Resources with help for getting Medicaid, setting up doctors appointments, helping get birth certificates, social security cards, you know, stuff like that that need to help them get a real nice decent job,” Milton said.
These good deeds are going national. Activists across the country and coming together through the National Bail Out group and using #FreeBlackMamas.
“To raise awareness of the ridiculousness of a money bail system,” said Waters-Austin.
The ultimate goal is to free all mamas.
“Actually our goal is abolition,” said Waters-Austin. “We want to find a new way of keeping our communities safe that doesn’t involve keeping people in cages.”
To donate to the Black Lives Matter Lansing fund to #FreeBlackMamas click here.