Habari gani! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!  As we prepare for our biggest year of bailouts yet, we’re reflecting on how the work that we are doing relates to Kwanzaa’s principles and vision.

Derived from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning ‘first fruits of the harvest,’ Kwanzaa originated in response to the Watts Riots of Los Angeles in 1965 and is based on the year-end harvest festivals that have taken place throughout Africa for thousands of years. The African-American holiday honors seven values from African cultures and aims to build and reinforce community among Black folks.

The theme for this year’s Kwanzaa is ‘Remiagining and Remaking the World.’  Below you’ll see how with National Bail Out’s work – we are doing our part to make a new world that will take care of us and our communities.

For the last week of the year, National Bail Out will light a candle for Kwanzaa every night. Join us this holiday season by giving the Gift of freedom to a Black Mama who can’t afford her bail.

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The National Bail Out Collective strives to maintain family and community unity by reuniting families separated by inhumane bail and criminal legal practices.

Over the past two years, we’ve bailed out more than 300 people and brought them home to their families and communities.

The National Bail Out Collective believes in the right of our communities to create our own destinies.

We know predatory policing and the inhumane pretrial system robs our people of the ability to determine their and their families’ futures. We believe pretrial reform must be lead by communities most impacted and not by institutional actors or corporate interests, who are entrenched and benefit from the current system. Our communities are the real experts and are best equipped to name the problems and mold the solutions. Through our Mama’s Day Fellowship, our advocacy work and our upcoming report, we are making sure our people have the tools and resources they need to advocate for themselves!

We believe there are things we cannot do alone that we must do together.

The National Bail Out collective is a formation of Black organizers, lawyers and communicators who are committed to building a community-based movement to end pretrial detention and ultimately mass incarceration. It is only through our collective work, our interdependence and our shared vision that we can get all of our people free.

Through grassroots fundraising and support, the National Bail Out Collective has raised over $1.3 million dollars.

We’ve used that money not only to pay bail but also to invest in those we bailed out, through our Mama’s Day Fellowship and hiring and training those we bailed out to facilitate participatory research for our upcoming report. We also have invested in organizing and the organizations across the country that are fighting to transform the systems that are exploiting and killing our people. We believe the only way to ensure our freedom and dignity is through pooling our resources and investing in our people and organizations.

The bail outs we conduct every year are a vision of Mary Hooks of Southerners on New Ground, who reminds us that our mandate is, “to avenge the suffering of our ancestors, to earn the respect of future generations, and to be transformed in the service of the work.”

As a collective, we walk with a deep sense of purpose to continue the fight for abolition that our ancestors started and to transform ourselves, our communities and the systems that try everyday, unsuccessfully, to kill and exploit us.

We’re committed to freeing our folks by any means necessary.

Black people are beautiful, and the National Bail Out collective is working creatively to destroy the systems that destroy us. We trust in and are inspired by the creativity and vibrance of our people. We rely on the resilience and power of Black love and Black joy to sustain us and feed our vision of a different world — a world that has never existed. The making of this world, where there are no cages and where we hold each other in our full humanity, requires a deep bravery and creativity from us. Some of our hardest work has been experimenting with new systems that can hold our people, many of whom have been abandoned by a state that refuses to invest in anything other then their caging. We’ve identified the needs of those we’ve bailed out and created support systems to hold them.

We believe in a world without cages. We believe bail reform is necessary but that it is one of many needed reforms.

We believe that by focusing specifically on Black women (in all our forms) and more generally on Black communities we are able to develop organizing strategies and solutions that will effectively free all of our people. We believe that if Black women, specifically Black queer and Trans women, are free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all systems of oppression.

We believe that we have all we need and that our communities are the real experts and are best equipped to name the problems and mold the solutions.

It’s all the way lit, y’all!