Has your chapter done the Black Mamas Bail Out Action? If so, what have ya’ll learned about money bail and pre-trial detention in your city?
Yes, and we’ve loved bringing some of the Black mamas we bailed out into the work if they are interested. We’ve learned that our city council members and Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms have very little knowledge about cash bail and how the bail system works. Our Chief of Police touts that our jail system is one of the best ways we have to care for folks with mental illness (which is unacceptable). We’ve found that almost none of the judges we observe in our Court Watch program follow the bail reform ordinance, and that a large majority of the defendants we see during Court Watch are Black men. We still have a lot of work to do.
What are your specific demands for your Free from Fear campaign?
Short term goals: 1) Reduce population of Fulton County jail by 1/3, 2) increase the amount of signature bonds given by Fulton county judges, 3) Bring money bail and prison abolition to forefront of elections.
Long term goals: 1) Close the Union City jail & have no new jails opened, 2) normalize and actualize conflict resolution & alternatives to cages, 3) eliminate cash bail in Fulton County.
Who are your targets?
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Fulton County Judges, Sheriff Ted Jackson, Police Chief Labat, and Fulton County Commissioners.
What wins or successes has your chapter had?
Bail reform ordinance was passed in Fulton County on February 6, 2018. It prohibits giving cash bail for certain city ordinance violations (but isn’t being followed). We have a strong Court Watch program that’s been running since September 2018 and have collected a lot of data that we are in the process of weaponizing. We have bailed out over 20 Black mamas over the past three Black Mama’s bail outs!
What does political education work look like for your chapter?
We have regular political education at our monthly membership meetings on various topics. We also have a Black-only political education group called Black 2 School, and a political education group targeted toward our white members.
What does arts & culture work look like for your chapter?
Our Arts & Culture crew is a big fan of guerrilla theater, and we have 2 guerrilla theater actions planned for 2019. They keep us inspired with project suggestions and ideas for how to make future actions stand out, and have created some memorable and impactful signage for actions in the past too.
Want to join the Atlanta Chapter?