INDIANAPOLIS — Volunteers downtown are sitting outside all morning and all night waiting to help people released from jail.
It’s a partnership between the Indy 10 Black Lives Matter group and The Bail Project. Organizers say there’s a proven need for it.
Addie Barret has spent hours sitting on the corner of Market and Alabama streets. After attending multiple protests, she knew she wanted to do more, which landed her here, answering questions and connecting people released from jail to legal services, court help, transportation and food or water.
“We’ve had one person come up and she had someone back in the jail right now trying to get a bond,” Barret said.
There are more than 130 volunteers signed up to staff this table at all hours of the day.
“If their phone was dead or they didn’t know where their friends were,” Barret explained, “we could help them out.”
A week ago, The Bail Project and Indy 10 Black Lives Matter set up the tent as protests ramped up.
Many people were being arrested or cited and released. The groups knew they had to help those who were leaving the City-County Building without knowing what to do next.
“There are just a lot of people who are outraged and frustrated with the way the legal system is working right now and we were looking for ways to get involved,” said April Angermeier, training manager for The Bail Project. “Then we saw that the need was much greater than that.”
The Bail Project is a nonprofit that provides free bail assistance to thousands of low-income people every year.
“In addition to providing free bail assistance, The Bail Project supports people through a model we call Community Release with Support. At this time, The Bail Project is using its National Revolving Bail fund and existing infrastructure of local teams in over 20 cities to provide bail assistance to people arrested during demonstrations demanding justice for George Floyd and an end to police violence against Black communities.”The Bail Project
Since launching the information tent downtown, 1,600 people have stopped by to ask for help.
“We know that people involved in the criminal legal system, people who are experiencing homelessness, they are all part of this community,” said Angermeier. “We all need to take care of each other, and these issues are all very intersectional, they are not separate issues.”
For volunteers, it’s about supporting the movement and each other.
“I think our city has so much capacity for change right now, I hope that energy keeps up more than just the first two weeks,” said Barret.
All volunteers are required to participate in a Zoom orientation session and training before they are able to sign up. The Bail Project is still looking for volunteers, to make sure this booth has someone here to help at all times.
If you’re interested in getting involved, click here.