In May 2017, a group of grassroots organizers in Philadelphia came together as part of the National Mama’s Bail Out Day to give incarcerated mothers an opportunity to spend Mother’s Day at home with their families and to highlight the impact of inhumane and destructive bail practices on Black caregivers and communities. Thanks to an amazing outpouring of support, and the strong leadership of national Black-led organizing, in less than a week we were able to raise enough money locally to bring 13 women home from Riverside Correctional Facility (RCF) to spend mother’s day with their families. We have continued to bail out Black women for many months, responding to calls from community members on the outside who could not afford to pay bail for their loved ones who were being detained pretrial. As we connected with and learned from those we bailed out, we recognized the need to continue freeing people serving pre-trial sentences as we work to end pretrial detention in the long-term. From there, the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund was born as a way to buy people their freedom until we see an end to the unjust system of cash bail in Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Community Bail Fund is all volunteer-run, and is operated by grassroots organizers in the #No215Jail coalition, Black Lives Matter Philadelphia, Sankofa Community Empowerment, Frontline Dads, Media Mobilizing Project, DecarceratePA and the Youth Art Self-Empowerment Project (YASP).