You Can Donate To Bail Funds To Help Support The Fight For Racial Justice
Protests are continuing around the country as public rage escalates over the killings of Black Americans at the hands of police. People have been showing up in Minneapolis, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and other cities to call out police brutality and racism. If you'd like to contribute to the movement, consider making a donation to a bail fund for protesters who have been arrested, as well as others stuck in the criminal justice system. Here is a list of bail funds to donate to, and support protesters fighting against systemic racism and police brutality.
Donations have been flooding in to community bail funds amid nationwide protests following the death of a black man, George Floyd, in an incident with a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Monday, May 25. Video of the incident showed a white officer, later identified as Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Floyd's neck — allegedly for almost nine minutes, according to court documents filed later. The three other officers at the scene, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, along with Chauvin, were fired after the incident. Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder on May 29, and it was changed to second-degree murder on Wednesday, June 3. Also on June 3, Lane, Kueng, and Thao were charged with aiding and abetting murder. A lawyer for Chauvin declined to comment to Elite Daily. Representatives for the other officers charged did not immediately respond to Elite Daily's request for comment.
Protesters are still taking to the streets to fight for the Black Lives Matter cause, and bail funds help them do that. Bail funds are independent charitable organizations that collect money and use the funds to post bail and release those in pre-trial detention who can't afford their cash bail, so that they can await their trial freely. Bail money is used as collateral to ensure someone who was arrested appears in court when summoned — show up for your court date, and you get your money back. However, the bail system is highly controversial: bail amounts are often set too high for low-income people to pay, which means they must spend the weeks or months before their trial in jail, while wealthier individuals can await their trial at home. Unsurprisingly, Black and brown people are disproportionately impacted. The Prison Policy Initiative points out people of color are more likely to be detained pre-trial, and are given higher bail amounts than white detainees.
Most of the bail funds are able to recycle bail money when it's returned at the close of the trial, which means your donation will have a much longer-lasting impact than just during the current anti-racism protests. There are plenty of community bail funds you can contribute to if you're looking for ways you can make a change. As the anti-racism protests keep evolving, we will continue updating this list as more funds emerge and are shared with us.
1. Athens Freedom Fund
2. Community Bail Fund
The Community Bail Fund (CBF), based in Orange and Osceola counties in Florida, is a collaboration between Orlando-based law firm Morgan & Morgan, State Attorney Aramis Ayala and Public Defender Bob Wesley. It seeks to end the widespread incarceration of individuals arrested for non-violent offenses but not convicted, who don’t have the financial means to post their bail. You can donate on the fund’s homepage, and your donation will be matched by the fund, up to $250,000.
3. Take Action Chapel Hill’s Anti-Racist Activist Fund
Take Action Chapel Hill’s Anti-Racist Activist Fund in North Carolina is a grassroots coalition supporting anti-racist activists who are facing arrests as they fight white supremacy in the form of protests in Chapel Hill and the surrounding areas. Currently, your donation to the fund will help supply bail for arrested protesters.
4. The Bail Project
The Bail Project is a national revolving bail fund operating in many cities across the United States, which provides bail money for low-income individuals who are presumed innocent. According to the organization's website, The Bail Project gets back bail money when a case closes, and is able to recycle every dollar donated twice per year. You can donate here.
5. Progressives Everywhere Bail Fund
The Progressives Everywhere Bail Fund allows you to split your donations between up to 70 different bail funds, including national and city-specific groups. On the donation page, you can choose how much you want to allocate per fund, or ask the organization to split it for you.
6. Louisville Community Bail Fund
The Louisville Community Bail Fund in Kentucky not only pays bail for people, but also provides support post-release from jail to ensure a situation of safety. It also focuses on preventative measures for those who are threatened with incarceration. It's one of the only funds that relies entirely on support from individuals. To contribute to the cause, visit the Louisville Community Bail Fund donation page.
7. Philadelphia Community Bail Fund
After the Philadelphia Bail Fund reached $1.2 million in donations on June 2, it suggested other funds to support, including the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund, in Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Community Bail Fund's mission is to end cash bail, and as they work toward that goal, the fund posts bail for Philadelphia residents who cannot afford to pay. You can donate to the cause here.
8. Columbus Freedom Fund
The Columbus Freedom Fund in Ohio was started in 2019 and is centered on black liberation and freedom. The fund is currently bailing out people who are arrested for protesting. You can donate to the bailout fund here.
9. Detroit Justice Center
The Detroit Justice Center it a non-profit organization that runs its revolving Michigan bail fund with the help of The Bail Project. It's currently using funds to help release protesters, especially in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. You can donate to the cause here.
10. Chicago Community Bond Fund
The Chicago Community Bond Fund helps pay the bail of "individuals whose communities cannot afford to pay the bonds themselves and who have been impacted by structural violence." The fund has been using its resources to pay bail for protesters in Chicago. You can donate here.
11. LGBTQ Freedom Fund
The LGBTQ Freedom Fund aims to provide bail money for non-heterosexual and gender non-confirming individuals, who are more three times more likely to be jailed. Once in prison, they are also more vulnerable to abuse. The LGBTQ Freedom fund works with states across the country and as of June 5, has made bail for arrested individuals in 16 states. You can donate to help those who are incarcerated or in immigration detention centers.
12. Nashville Community Bail Fund
The Nashville Community Bail Fund helps low-income individuals pay their bail with revolving donations. The organization also works with the community to end "wealth-based detention." You can donate through PayPal here.
13. Cincinnati Bail Fund
The Cincinnati Bail Fund in Ohio is run through the Beloved Community Church. It's currently working to free protesters who are arrested can't make cash bail. You can donate through this link from the church, by first choosing a donation amount and then selecting "Cincinnati Bail Fund."
14. Portland Protest Bail Fund
The PDX Protest Bail Fund in Oregon was created by the Portland General Defense Committee, which is a non-binary- and women-led organization defending workers who are "facing legal attack for their political beliefs." The organization provides legal aid and jail support. You can donate to the PDX Protest GoFundMe here.
15. Richmond Community Bail Fund
As of Tuesday, June 2, the Richmond Community Bail Fund hasn't had to bail out protesters in Virginia, but the fund's website says funds raised will also be used to help end mass incarceration and act as start-up money for bail funds across Virginia. You can donate here.
16. Albany Bail & Safety Fund
After the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund received an overwhelming number of donations, it directed interested individuals to a Twitter thread from the National Bail Fund Network highlighting bail funds in need. The Albany Bail and Safety Fund for Black Lives, in New York, was set up to ensure the safety of protesters by paying cash bail for those who can't afford it. You can donate with PayPal here.
17. Milwaukee Bail Fund
The Milwaukee Freedom Bail Fund in Wisconsin is using donations for bail and court-related costs, as well as rides, food, and water for arrested protesters. You can donate to the fund here.
18. Michigan Solidarity Bail Fund
This Michigan bail fund uses donations to help post bail for those most in need statewide. It is a revolving fund which uses returned bail money once a case closes to help pay the bail of someone else. You can donate here.
19. Colorado Springs Protest Support Fund
This bail fund is a collaboration of three groups: the Chinook Center, The Empowerment Solidarity Network, and the Colorado Springs Democratic Socialists of America. Donations to the Protest Support Fund will go to help provide bail assistance, legal fees, and supplies for protesters who are arrested. You can donate here.
20. Massachusetts Bail Fund
The Free Them All Massachusetts Bail Fund posts bail of up to $2,000 in Essex County and Suffolk County in Massachusetts. When bail is returned at the end of a case, the fund recycles the money to use it again. You can donate to the fund here.
21. Florida Bail Fund
The Florida Bail Fund at the Florida Justice Center uses 100% of the donations to pay bail, according to the information on its website. The funD pays bail for those who cannot afford it, and you can donate here.
22. Atlanta Solidarity Fund
The Atlanta Solidarity Fund is supported by Action Network, which is a non-profit organization aimed at empowering progressive activism through education, training, and mobilizing with technology. When you donate to the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, your money will be used to help with immediate bail needs.
23. National Bail Fund Network
This national fund is comprised of over 60 community bail and bond funds across the United States. The funds in the network are committed to act as organizing tools that work to end pre-trial and immigration detention. You can donate by choosing a fund through the directory.
If you're looking for more ways to help, you can also make donations to mutual aid funds, which are grassroots organizations that provide assistance to communities in need, or you can donate to organizations working to support Black communities. Even if you're only able to give what you can, every little bit helps.
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