Pregnant woman receives Mother’s Day ‘bailout’ gift
“The current money bail system traps Black people and keeps us in bondage”
(left to right) Deputy Public Defender Sherise Francis, Deshay Murphy, Patrisse Cullors, Dignity & Power Now; Pete White, Los Angeles Community Action Network; and UCLA Professor Kelly Lytle Hernández, at news conference announcing the release of Murphy as a part of the National Black Mama’s Bail Out Day Campaign. Photo by Jasmyne Cannick
#FreeBlackMamas National Black Mama’s Bail Out Day Campaign highlights impacts of pretrial detention on Black families; illustrates how California’s bail system unfairly punishes the poor
LOS ANGELES – A 26-year-old pregnant mother received an early Mother’s Day gift when her $30,000 bail was posted, allowing her release from Los Angeles County’s Century Regional Detention Facility for women in Lynwood early May 10.
Deshay Murphy, 8 months pregnant and the mother of a 4-year-old daughter, had been incarcerated since April 13, 2018, when she was arrested following a family domestic dispute. Murphy’s release was a coordinated effort of the National Black Mama’s Bail Out Day campaign #FreeBlackMamas that will give incarcerated mothers around the country an opportunity to spend Mother’s Day with their families and build community through gatherings that highlight the impact of injurious bail practices on local communities.
“Ms. Murphy’s case illustrates the unjust impact of pretrial detention on Black families,” said Los Angeles Community Action Network Executive Director Pete White. “Upon hearing of her case, LACAN immediately identified Ms. Murphy as someone we needed to help so she could return to her 4-year-old daughter, resume pregnancy in a safe environment, and be home for Mother’s Day.”
White says LACAN will host a baby shower for the expectant mother on Friday.
Since May 2017, more than 14,000 people have donated money to bring nearly 200 mothers home to their families and communities in Oakland, Los Angeles, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Montgomery and Birmingham, Ala.; Memphis, Tenn.; Atlanta, Ga; Houston, Texas; New York City, Little Rock, Ark.; Charlottesville, Va; Charlotte, Kinston, and Durham, NC; Baltimore, Md; Philadelphia, Pa; St. Louis, Mo, and the District of Columbia.
Local community organizations Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN) and Creative Artists Agency (CAA) the world’s leading entertainment and sports agency, teamed up to raise the bail funds for Murphy.
“The current money bail system traps Black people and keeps us in bondage,” said Patrisse Cullors, founder of Dignity and Power Now. “It’s that much worse when you are pregnant and vulnerable. We believe no pregnant [woman] should sit in a jail cell under any circumstances. Let’s commit to freeing our folks who are languishing inside of prison because they are poor.”
UCLA Professor and Million Dollar Hoods Project lead researcher Kelly Lytle Hernández added, “In California, most of us have the right to freedom before trial. But that right comes at a price — money bail. In most cases, the price of freedom will never be refunded.
“Therefore, we are charging people for their constitutional right to freedom. It is time to rethink our money bail system. Nothing less than justice and freedom are at stake,” said Hernández, author of “City of Inmates,” a chronicle on how native elimination, immigrant exclusion, and Black disappearance drove the rise of incarceration in Los Angeles.
The National Bail Out collective is a formation of Black organizers who are committed to building a community-based movement to end pretrial detention and ultimately mass incarceration and includes Southerners on New Ground, the Movement for Black Lives, Color of Change, and other groups that have worked to raise nearly $1 million to bail out people all over the country.
The #FreeBlackMamas campaign highlights the impact of pretrial detention on Black families and how states like California’s bail system unfairly punishes the poor.