Thank You to All Black Mothers

Artwork by Amir Khadar (@AmirKhadar)

As Mother’s Day 2018 draws near, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights would like to take this time to highlight the experience of Black Mothers, Mamas, Big Mamas, M’dears, Nanas, and all the other terms of endearment bestowed upon Black women who carry our community. All too often, it is the silent tears and pleas for justice from Black mothers that go unheard.

We hear you.

The Ella Baker Center joined with other organizations, including Forward Together, Research Action Design, and other community-based organizations to research the experiences of families. That research culminated in a report called, “Who Pays, The True Cost of Incarceration on Families.” This report highlighted the overwhelming obstacles that many Black women and Black mothers experience with the criminal justice system. The report found that 1 in 2 Black women are related to someone behind bars and that fact comes with enormous costs. According to Alicia Walters, “Decades of bad policy have torn families apart, typically leaving mothers to make up the difference and bear the brunt of these costs.”

We see you.

Black women, who are poor and vulnerable, who already care for extended families are pushed further into poverty with the fees and financial burdens of incarceration.  Black women are paying exorbitant amounts for phone calls, packages to supplement what the state does not provide, food from the canteen, and visits to prisons in far away locations. The Black women are also paying the high price of keeping family members out of custody pre-trial through the money bail system.  The rallying cry for these women, our sisters, aunts, daughters, our Mothers like Ella Jo Baker, “We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest.”

We fight for you.

Today we say, “Thank you,” to all the Black Mothers, Mamas, Big Mamas, M’dears, and Nanas.