On Saturday May 13th, Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration brought people together outside Chicago’s Cook County Jail to stand in solidarity with incarcerated mothers. Cook County Jail (CCJ) is the largest single-site jail in the United States; it spans eleven city blocks and admits more than 60,000 people every year.
Since 1980, the number of incarcerated women has grown by 700%, and black women are more than twice as likely to be incarcerated as white women. Eighty percent of incarcerated women are mothers, and nearly half are in local jails.
Speakers from Black Lives Matter Chicago, the #LetUsBreathe Collective, Chicago Community Bond Fund, Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, Cabrini Green Legal Aid addressed the linkages between race, poverty, violence, trauma, and incarceration. All the moms who spoke shared the ways that their incarceration in Cook County Jail or a prison impacted not only them, but their children and their broader communities. They blessed the crowd with powerful calls to tear this “modern-day plantation” down, reclaim all 96 acres for the community, and reinvest these millions of dollars we spend on cages into our neighborhoods.