BLOOMINGTON — Maya Angelou once said a mother’s love liberates, but not all mothers have their freedom on this Mother’s Day.
According to data from Pirsonpolice.org, nearly 80 percent of women who are in jail are mothers.
On Mothers Day in Bloomington, a small group of people showed their support for incarcerated women in front of the Monroe County Jail.
"We want to make sure on this day that mothers inside are remembered that they are not forgotten and that people show up to honor them also as mothers,“ Lindsey Badger, the prevention coordinator with Middle Way House, said. The not for profit that organized the demonstration.
As the small group of people held signs in front of the barred windows of the women’s block of the Monroe County Jail, you could hear women from the inside banging on the windows, something organizers say they do to say thank you for the support.
It’s the only way they can show their gratitude.
"It's powerful and it's sad that, that's the only they communicate,” Molly Weiler, a mother who attended the demonstration, said. “If it were my only way to communicate, I'd probably do the same thing."
Weiler attended the demonstration for the first time with her kids.
It has taken place for almost a decade every Mother’s Day.
The organization helps people who are victims of domestic violence, including women who are incarcerated. The American Civil Liberties Union said the vast majority of women in prison have been victims of violence prior to their incarceration.
"We see consistently that incarceration is one the highest factors in being able to predict is someone has experienced violence in their life," Badger said.
The organization has worked with multiple mothers and domestic violence survivors within the jail walls. However, since the pandemic, most of their services have been online.
This is why these mothers feel showing up and showing support on a day dedicated to moms is more important than ever before.
"This is a building that has humans inside of it whose lives matter so much,” Badger said. “To also have it be true that community members see that other members of their community want to come out in support of folks that are locked up."
Organizers with Middle Way House said they have received numerous letters from mothers who are locked up during the demonstration that express how grateful they are to recognize on Mother’s Day.
The organization hopes to get back inside the jail soon to continue its programing in person rather than online. For more information about Middle Way House click here.