(Photo Credit: Tiffany Roberts)

Atlanta Faith Leaders Combat Mass Incarceration

The poor "are dying, losing jobs, and children" because they can't afford bail.

Maria Boynton
June 06, 2018 - 11:49 am

Starting today, area houses of worship are partnering for a mass bailout. It's in commemoration of the Juneteenth Holiday. Spearheaded by Atlanta's Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, there will be a community rally for bail reform from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight.

The Freedom Day Bailout Campaign focuses on prosecutorial discretion to end, what organizers call, the unfair incarceration of a disproportionate population of poor, black and brown people who are being held in local jails only because they cannot afford bail.

“As a formerly enslaved people, African Americans have a long history of buying one another’s freedom and fighting for freedom,” says Rev. Raphael Warnock, Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church.  “In that spirit, we are bailing our poor people while also insisting that people should not be incarcerated because they are poor.”

The community rally is titled “Money Moves: Mass Incarceration, Cash Bail & Making Cents", and will feature Rapper-Activist Tef Poe leading the community in conversation. “When laws are unjust this means love is absent from the way we treat each other,” says Tef. “Faith workers have always been the up-keepers of social justice.

The bailouts will happen June 11-16. There will also be a commemoration of families together, which local attorney Tiffany Roberts says, will be in time for Father's Day and Juneteenth.

Roberts, with the Southern Center for Human Rights, says "we recently had a young man in Rockdale County who actually died of dehydration in pretrial detention." Adds Roberts, "we have people losing their families, their lives, and their housing simply because they can't get out of jail."

Ebenezer is also parterning with Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Amnesty Int’l, New GA Project, SisterCare Alliance, Spread the Vote GA, Southerners on New Ground and others.

There's an email address for those wishing to recommend someone for bailout.

Those needing more information can visit the Ebenezer Baptist Church Social Justice Ministry webpage or phone 404-688-7300.