This Mother’s Day, Critical Resistance sends our solidarity and fortitude to all the mothers, aunties, grandmothers, caregivers, and those who love them. We celebrate and uplift all the mothers and caregivers who organize, fortify and guide our movement every day; we also send our collective resilience and spirit to mothers, grandmothers, caregivers, and children of all ages who are behind bars without their loved ones this week. These holidays can also be hard for people who are separated and confined from social and emotional connections, even in their contradictions.
Annual holidays such as these, while rife with commercialization nonetheless are opportunities for us to recognize the multi-dimensional impact of the prison industrial complex, the brilliance and significance of mothers committed to their loved ones and community, and our movement’s commitment for abolition.
CR Organizing in Solidarity with Mamas & Loved Ones
Through our organizing, we recognize the significance of these campaigns for mothers, caregivers, and loved ones. This Mother’s Day, we want to uplift the urgent “Prison Closure” organizing that the our CR Oakland and CR Los Angeles chapters are folding into with Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) Coalition. Check out the recently released “People’s Plan for Prison Closure” and learn more about the campaign demands here. Closing prisons will mean that fewer families will be fractured, isolated and strained by the physical torture and vast geographic distances imposed by imprisonment and detention. We envision a present and future where loved ones are together, not separated and violated.
In New York and New Jersey, CR NYC is contributing to different participatory defense campaigns with Ni Muertas Ni Presas for the release of Latinx women at ICE jails, CRNYC also formally joined the Abolish ICE NY-NJ Coalition and worked with other grassroots groups to pressure both New Jersey and New York Governors to use their emergency power to stop any and all transfers of people from local law enforcement agencies into ICE custody, and end ICE-jail contracts. When families are not burdened by the impacts of imprisonment, detention and policing, they will experience relief from the attendant physical, emotional, financial and social strains of those impacts. This is the future we are fighting for.
Support National Mamas Day Bail Out
Nationally, we want to highlight the National Mama’s Day Bail Out effort led by our movement partners, initiated in 2017. We love this video about its founding, in which the Center for Political Education talked with Mary Hooks of Southerners on New Ground (SONG) and Marbre Stahly-Butts of the Movement for Black Lives, two of the people who developed this campaign, in order to learn more about the national effort to bail mothers out the week before Mother’s Day. The National Mama’s Bail Out effort signifies the bold shifting of common sense that the abolitionist movement is forging currently—that no loved ones should be separated by cages.
Relatedly, stay tuned for a new pretrial abolitionist bail toolkit, forthcoming from Critical Resistance, Chicago Community Bond Fund, and Community Justice Exchange. Prison industrial complex abolition requires attention to all fronts of the PIC, and we hope that this tool will fortify our lines of defense and our organizing against pretrial separation and detention. Together we will insist that all stages of imprisonment, from pretrial detention to long term sentences, are illegitimate violence to our networks, and there is a better way forward.
As we celebrate mothers and stand in solidarity with women and caregivers who deserve lives full of affirming resources, relationships and stability, we also look to our past. In 2001, INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence and Critical Resistance co-authored an analysis piece and organizing tool which has stood to disrupt the insidious invasion of policing and the rest of the prison industrial complex (PIC) into interpersonal and domestic spaces. In thinking about how to imagine a world without the PIC which values and upholds the knowledge, experiences and demands of women of color (mothers, caregivers and community members alike), we strongly encourage our movement to be familiar with this fundamental piece.
Abolitionist Common Sense
While women are no longer the fastest growing population of imprisoned people, they are acutely impacted by the PIC– as imprisoned people, migrants, survivors of police violence, and as prisoners’ loved ones, caregivers to children of imprisoned people, and advocates. In the simplest terms, as our movement aims to halt the expansion of jails and prisons, fewer women and gender non-conforming people, especially those that are people of color and poor people, will live in cages. All of our communities will benefit when we de-prioritize imprisonment in favor of healthy, stable, well-resourced communities.
This Mother’s Day, we must remind ourselves, each other, our loved ones and community that NO ONE belongs in a cage nor should fear the violence of policing, not on Mother’s Day, nor the rest of the year. This Mother’s Day, we amplify calls for community and familial reunification, an abolition of all borders, walls and cages, and a deep prioritization in the wellbeing of our people.