Honoring Resilience, Healing, and Solidarity
The first Mother's Day Bailout, an extraordinary event hosted by the Araminta Ross Foundation, brought together a community driven by compassion, empathy, and the desire to support Black women impacted by the criminal justice system. This heartfelt celebration not only provided bail support and legal assistance, reuniting mothers with their families while awaiting trial, but also symbolized the power of unity and the urgent need for resources and solidarity.
Fiani Johnson, Founder and CEO of the Araminta Ross Foundation, played a pivotal role in making this event possible. BOSS was among the organizations making a significant impact: BOSS Wellness and Empowerment Campus (WEC) Director Nanette Francois played a pivotal role in establishing the Women and Children's Reentry Campus (WCRC) in East Oakland.
Empowering Women's Reentry and Supporting Survivors
BOSS operates a network of reentry housing programs dedicated to serving justice-involved individuals, providing them with safe and supportive environments to rebuild their lives. The Women and Children's Reentry Campus in East Oakland offer interim housing and onsite services for justice-involved women and their children. This program assists women in reintegrating into the community, transitioning into stable housing, reuniting with their families, and fostering pro-social relationships.
Nanette has been instrumental in implementing a transformative model of care at the new Wellness and Empowerment Campus (WEC) (opening in July 2023), which aims to remove barriers to health, income, and housing stability while interrupting cycles of violence. It offers psychosocial and psychoeducational services tailored to each individual, providing compassionate and evidence-based practices through assertive outreach, advocacy, mental health services, intensive case management, and care coordination.
Recognizing that trauma affects individuals and families on multiple levels, the WEC will create an environment where survivors feel welcome, safe, respected, and loved. The dedicated staff meets each guest where they are geographically, economically, culturally, emotionally, mentally, intellectually, and physically -- offering support with various forms of interpersonal violence and loss to foster healing, recovery, and a sense of belonging.
Celebrating Resilience: The Mother's Day Bailout
The Mother's Day Bailout, hosted by the Araminta Ross Foundation, was a profound and emotional event celebrating Black women's resilience and strength impacted by the criminal justice system.
It served as a beacon of hope, illuminating the stories of mothers separated from their families and providing them with the support and resources they desperately needed.
The atmosphere was filled with love, compassion, and a shared determination to create a better future. From the moment the event began, it was evident that this was not just about bailing women out of jail; it was about bailing each other out of our struggles and challenges. It was about recognizing that our collective liberation is intertwined, and by supporting one another, we can create lasting change.
The event was proof of the power of unity and collaboration, with organizations like BOSS, SousSHE, ZSZ, TTTP, All of Us Or None, Oakland and the World (OAW), and individuals like Joyce Gordon leading the charge in providing critical resources and assistance. As the emcee, Satia Frazier-North, eloquently said, "We must work together. We must support one another. We need each other. We can't afford exclusion."
Nanette shared her journey of healing and transformation with those beginning theirs. Her words resonated deeply with everyone in attendance as she emphasized the importance of staying focused and never giving up. Nanette's experience served as a beacon of hope, proving that even the most challenging journeys can lead to redemption and positive change.
It's not an easy journey to forgive yourself, but you can do it!
- Nanette Francois, Director of BOSS' Wellness and Empowerment Campus (WEC)
The event also featured panel discussions, where formerly incarcerated individuals and advocates shared their stories and insights. It was a space for honest conversations about the flaws in the criminal justice system and the need for comprehensive support during the reentry process.
Elaine Brown, a former leader of the Black Panther Party, brought a historical perspective and reminded everyone of the ongoing fight for freedom and justice.
From job assistance to self-care programs, the event aimed to provide a holistic approach to reintegration and empowerment. Throughout the day, attendees had the opportunity to connect with various organizations and individuals, offering resources and support. It was a tribute to the resilience and strength of the human spirit.
As the event came to a close, there was a powerful and emotional tribute from Terry Lovett, a mother who tragically lost her son while he was incarcerated. Her words brought tears to everyone's eyes and served as a stark reminder of the urgent need for change within the criminal justice system.
The Mother's Day Bailout was not just a one-day event but a stepping stone toward a more compassionate and just society. It highlighted the work being done by organizations like BOSS and the Araminta Ross Foundation and called for continued support and action. As we reflect on this great day, remember, "We are each other's business."
Together, we can create a world where all mothers, regardless of their past, can experience love, support, and the opportunity to
Let us continue to celebrate the resilience of mothers everywhere, and may this Mother's Day Bailout be the start of a movement that brings about lasting transformation.
Acknowledging the Champions of Change
Heartfelt gratitude to the Araminta Ross Foundation, particularly its Founder and CEO, Fiani, for her relentless dedication and vision. Without her tireless efforts and belief in the potential of every individual, the Mother's Day Bailout would not have been possible. Fiani's journey and her commitment to supporting those impacted by the criminal justice system have paved the way for transformative change and hope.
The Mother's Day Bailout was a powerful testament to the resilience, strength, and potential of Black women impacted by the criminal justice system. Together, we can create a future where no one is defined by their past, and every individual has the chance to rebuild their life, contribute to their community, and experience true liberation.
BOSS programs are innovative, based on evidence-based practices and proven methodologies, and emphasize lived experience: across BOSS, over 50% of staff (80% in reentry programs) have personal experience with the same issues current participants face.
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