Families Honor Forgotten Mothers

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration, Black Lives Matter Chicago and Support Ho(s)e stood alongside formerly incarcerated mothers outside Cook County Jail, 2700 S. California, during Mother’s Day weekend to hold a vigil in honor of women are currently separated from their families due to incarceration. “My daughter was incarcerated (pre-trial) for almost three years as a result of saving her baby as well as herself from her abusive ex-boyfriend that was ordered by the court to discontinue his physical harm to her. We as women must advocate for our rights when it comes to self-defense,” said Cynthia Long.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

According to Moms United organizer Holly Krig over 215,000 women each year observe Mother’s Day in jail. Over 80 percent of incarcerated women report experiences of domestic violence or sexual abuse in their lives. “Incarceration is just one form of criminalization disproportionately experienced in minority communities. There are higher rates of eviction and DCFS involvement related directly to poverty. There is a higher rate of school, clinic and other community resource closings, which is punitive for a community, and co-occurs with higher rates of police involvement, arrest, and conviction. When lives are lost, communities are blamed, grieving mothers are told their children were ‘criminals’ or ‘disposable,’” said Krig. Family members concluded the gathering with a balloon release representing incarcerated mothers.

Photo Credit: Sarah Jane Rhee

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