Since September 2017*, Collective Against White Supremacy (CAWS) has supported individuals and families in Washtenaw County who have been impacted by incarceration, arrest, probation, or police violence. We initiated this fund upon hearing how many youth of color spend time in the Washtenaw County jail because they cannot afford bail fees of just $100. Many of the folks jailed in Washtenaw County are in jail because they cannot pay parole fees, while also trying to pay for groceries, housing, transportation, and medical care. Failure to pay parole fees result in re-arrest and detention.
The bail and support fund has collected and dispersed more than $2,000 for:
- parole fees
- eviction prevention
- temporary housing following eviction due to arrest
- permanent transportation
- groceries , diapers, and other necessities
- access to technology
Members of CAWS are residents of Washtenaw County who are active in anti-racist work, primarily in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area. We have relationships with multiple organizations led by people of color and work directly to support their needs and requests through personal relationships and community organizing. We continue to work to build relationships with communities most impacted by the carceral system, particularly communities of color and houseless communities. These relationships help us to connect meaningfully with individuals and families over the long term, guiding our advocacy for structural change.
We do this work because the criminal legal system criminalizes people without housing (for loitering, sleeping in public, "trespassing"), people of color (for "suspicious behavior" and "disorderly conduct"), and folks with disabilities (for mental and physical health related behaviors). Once cited or arrested, these community members are bound in a cycle of financial losses related to the costs that maintain the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC), and so are their families and loved ones. People are not only impacted by having their freedom taken and the financial costs, but also the trauma and social stigma that comes with involvement in the PIC.
Until we abolish our inherently oppressive jails and prisons, we must provide material support to those who are criminalized today. We will withdraw these donated funds on an as-needed basis, and disperse them personally to our contacts in the community who need assistance with legal funds and other material needs (see list above).
Thank you for your contribution.
*Our original fundraiser was on Generosity.com, but it was recently bought out and our account was closed.
For transparency: This campaign and fund is collectively managed by members of CAWS. Amber Hughson, a founding member of CAWS, will manage the withdrawal of funds into a personal bank account, used only for CAWS campaigns. CAWS will distribute funds to individuals and organizations in our community with whom we have direct, personal relationships, on an as-needed basis. We will do our best to update donors about the use of funds, but will also protect the identity of vulnerable people. If you have questions, please contact us.