Our Voices

The Appeal: Common Bails Out a Stranger

On any given day, over 7,000 people are jailed at Rikers Island who have not been convicted of anything; they have been charged with a crime but are unable to afford bail. And 87 percent of them are Black or Latinx.

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and its Mass Bail Out campaign hopes to change that by freeing hundreds of people in this predicament—every woman, 16-year-old, and 17-year-old, regardless of the charges they face—to await trial from home. The point is to show that New York City does not need Rikers and does not need cash bail—the city would be just as safe, and these women and young people can be spared the trauma of jail, not to mention the educational, employment, and familial consequences of being taken away from their lives.

Common, the 46-year-old rapper, actor, and criminal justice reform advocate, joined RFK Human Rights at the Brooklyn Detention Complex to post bail for a woman he didn’t know and experience what it’s like being a Mass Bail Out volunteer firsthand.

Even with his VIP treatment, Common would end up waiting nearly an hour to bail someone out. But he seemed invigorated by the experience and wore his Mass Bail Out shirt proudly. “I’m gonna rock this today and let people know what I’m about.”

Read the full article here.

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