A Community Bail Out for Lā Kūʻokōʻa

A community bail out for Hawaiian independence day

Back in June when Laurel, Leilani, and I (read our abolition article here and the process it took us to write here!) first met and got together (virtually obviously) to discuss abolition in Hawaiʻi, we slowly decided to follow the Study and Struggle program and invite organizers and interested friends from all avenues to join us in our journey. We gathered around 25 names and asked our pals to commit to collectively building toward abolition through political education and shared actions. And from that group, we made connections and friendships with people we might’ve never met before who are just as excited about a Hawaiʻi without cages. Yesterday I joined several friends from the abolition group who are part of the Hawaiʻi Community Bail Fund and Coronacare Hawaiʻi to bail out kānaka maoli in honor and celebration of Lā Kūʻokoʻa! The process in getting the bail out started took a few weeks of organizing and planning, but the day of went as smoothly as we could ask for. My friends and I posted bail for 11 people at Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC) at 7:30 a.m. when Circuit Court opened, and we only had to wait at the cashiers office for about two hours total when the receipts and bail slips were ready. Once we were good to go, we took the slips to OCCC and the bail out officially began! Coronacare volunteers prepared packages full of canned foods, produce, toiletries, masks, hand sanitizers, Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis, a bus pass, prepaid cell phone, and Savers gift card. In total, we bailed out nine people who were over the moon thrilled and thankful. All abolitionist praxis requires community with currently and formerly incarcerated people, so it was a blessing to meet those we helped get out. The experience of going through the bail out process and waiting patiently for release confirmed to me even more that no one belongs in a cage and that bail is ransom as we paid for people’s freedom. It was also exciting to see that I can play a small part in helping to free people without being a lawyer. I’m so thankful for my abolitionist group and that we found community with so many people who fill gaps in our different organizing work! Collectively building toward abolition and meeting people on the outside is a dream come true.