In May a collective of organizations and activists joined forces to unite economically disadvantaged Black mothers—who were behind bars for non-violent crimes and couldn’t afford to post bail—with their families for Mother’s Day. In honor of Father’s Day, a Virginia-based organization is following suit. According to WDBJ, Black Father Family raised money to bail out incarcerated fathers.
The organization is dedicated to combating negative stereotypes about Black fatherhood. The initiative—dubbed Father’s Bailout—was created as an avenue to not only unite Black fathers who have fallen victim to the cash bail system with their families, but to spread awareness about persisting issues surrounding mass incarceration and our country’s flawed criminal justice system. With the help of a group called Ex-Out, the organization set out on a mission to bail out fathers who were jailed for non-violent offenses and have bail amounts that are less than $500.
“I understand that there are certain systemic issues that remove these fathers from their households,” Black Father Family founder Ryan Bell said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “I want to do everything I can to possibly give another young Black child the same opportunity that I had to have their father in the house with them.” He said he was inspired by projects led by Jay-Z and the National Bail Out’s #FreeBlackMamas movement.
Initiatives like the one being led by Bell’s organization are needed. Black families are disproportionately impacted by mass incarceration. According to a study conducted by Rutgers University, one in nine Black children in the United States have a parent who is incarcerated.