Get Lit for Liberation Benefit Party Addresses Jail Conditions & Bail Reform

Sat 4/13 @ 8PM

More than half of the people sitting in Ohio jails have not been convicted of a crime. Rather, they are awaiting their pending cases and cannot afford bail. The Ohio Student Association (OSA) and other like-minded organizations are working on many avenues to change the cultures and systems related to mass incarceration. In addition to advocacy for major policy changes alongside the Coalition to Stop the Inhumanity in the County Jail, OSA is raising money to bail people out. Get Lit for Liberation is a five-piece concert benefit that will also highlight the greater Cleveland artist community. Held at Ingenuity Cleveland’s IngenuityLabs space @ the Hamilton Collaborative, the doors will open at 7pm and the show begins at 8pm.

Following the model of many other nonprofits such as the Bail Project and the National Bail Out, the Cuyahoga County Bail Fund would seek to bail out those that are awaiting their trial, focuses on low-level offenses with low bail amounts to have the greatest impact. These national organizations have had major success in ensuring those bailed out show up for their court dates without being either forced to plead guilty or face the consequences of being locked in jail.

The inhumane conditions and overcrowding in the Cuyahoga County jail add another layer of injustice to the cash bail system. Not only are the people incarcerated at risk of losing their jobs, their children, their homes, and being faced with even more collateral consequences and psychological distress, but the further cruelty and neglect has been brought to light. With eight deaths and 56 suicide attempts in 2018 alone, the county was finally forced to submit to a federal inspection. The U.S. Marshals report uncovered gross human rights abuses, such as withholding food as punishment and not providing shower curtains to even the detained minors. Still, the overpopulation in the jails persists and officials have not laid out a clear path forward.

So what is a bail fund?

Sponsored by New Voices for Reproductive Justice and Black Lives Matter Cleveland, the Cuyahoga County Bail Fund will offer bail assistance to those awaiting their court date to help maintain stability and continuity in their lives, and actively protest the system of mass incarceration.

This will take much more than money — people who are bailed out will need resources like transportation, child care, food and clothes. As we establish partnerships with local organizations to increase addiction services and provide housing, we are also always accepting creative ways of support. If you are interested in supporting this movement, or have story you want to share, feel free to reach out to osacleveland@gmail.com.

Hosted in Ingenuity Cleveland’s space during their Youth Social Justice Weekend, this is more than a fundraiser. We are also actively working to support local artists to build the intersection between arts and social justice. In addition to performances from Boxed Wine Mom, Key to the Mint, Apostle Jones, Robin Blake Sound Experiment w/ Alexander Wright and the Collective, and Meg & the Magnetosphere, there will be an art gallery on display and live painters. Much of the art available for viewing and purchase was inspired by the Issue 1 campaign (which sought to lower drug-related crimes and invest in treatment centers) and the impressive mobilization that OSA worked closely to ignite.

A $10 suggested donation will be accepted as cash or paypal at the door, with a cash bar of $4 beers and Vegan Soul Food pop-up also for sale.

[Written by Jenna Thomas]

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