Hundreds of People Freed From Jail in Time for the Holidays

New York, NY (November 24, 2020)—This week, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and Colin Kaeperick’s Know Your Rights Camp completed their pledge to invest $1 million towards bailing people out of jail during the COVID-19 crisis. Their efforts have ensured that hundreds of people who would have been behind bars for months, even years, waiting for their day in court will now be able to safely return home in time for the holidays.

This partnership has provided important and immediate relief to hundreds of individuals and has allowed them the chance to return to family and friends during a global pandemic. At the same time, the reality is that no amount of temporary relief can fix the structural injustices of cash bail in a system that was designed to target and prey upon Black, Brown, and poor communities. We must demand more.

“We’ve seen how cash bail bolsters mass criminalization by locking up generations of Black, Brown, and poor individuals with irreparable consequences,” said Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “Partnering with community bail funds to free people, one bail payment at a time, is a life-line for many, but to make lasting, systemic change, we must disrupt the cycle of incarceration in the first place and bring an end to cash bail and pretrial detention as a whole.”

“The practice of cash bail is a tragic case study illustrating how racism collides with classism to disproportionately harm Black and Brown communities. Not only do Black and Brown defendants receive bail amounts that are twice as high as bail set for white defendants but they are also up to 25 percent more likely than white defendants to be detained pretrial. It’s clear that this system is working as intended, and it’s not to our benefit,” said Colin Kaepernick, founder of Know Your Rights Camp. “To know that our work with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights has brought even a measure of relief to our siblings helps to inspire me to keep fighting alongside others for the liberation of our people.”

The Funds for Freedom partnership has come to include more than 30 community bail funds and local organizations across 22 states—providing them with the resources and support to ramp up their efforts freeing as many people from jails as possible. Learn more about these groups and how you can support them here.

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

We are a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that has worked to realize Robert F. Kennedy’s dream of a more just and peaceful world since 1968. In partnership with local activists, we advocate for key human rights issues—championing changemakers and pursuing strategic litigation at home and around the world. And to ensure change that lasts, we foster a social-good approach to business and investment and educate millions of students about human rights and social justice.

Know Your Rights Camp

We are a free campaign for youth, founded by Colin Kaepernick, to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization, and the creation of new systems that elevate the next generation of change leaders. In March 2020, we established the Know Your Rights Camp COVID-19 Relief Fund to address how hundreds of years of structural racism is making Black and Brown communities more vulnerable to the coronavirus. In May 2020, we launched the Know Your Rights Camp Legal Defense Initiative, identifying and teaming up with top defense lawyers and civil rights lawyers nationwide to provide legal resources for those in need.