Protests sparked in Minneapolis by the police killing of George Floyd have inspired a wave of demonstrators, many of them finding themselves jailed for the first time. However, the newly inspired activists are getting serious backing from an organization dedicated to eliminating the cash bail system in Minnesota.
"Our work is really focused on making sure no one is held by bail just because of their financial circumstances," Steve Boland, board member of the Minnesota Freedom Fund, told Cheddar.
In just four days, the nonprofit organization raised $20 million to free protesters across the state.
"The system itself is inherently racist. It is not implemented in any meaningful way that could be called justice," he added. "The amount of money you have should not determine the amount of justice you’re able to get."
The amount of financial support from those who agree with the aims of the fund became so overwhelming that it had to turn donors away and redirect them to other resources. Some of those dollars are being circulated throughout communities in Minnesota — particularly those that have been damaged in the more than weeklong unrest.
"The flood of responses from across the world, hundreds of thousands of donors, has been amazing," Boland said.
Starting out as a grassroots movement, the organization’s reach spread quickly with the help of social media and celebrities alike. And with a staggering number of new activists, Boland encouraged donors to stay active in their pursuit of social justice.
"If you’ve got the ability to contribute to others that are doing the work, do that. But then stay involved with them," he implored. "Don’t give anonymously. Give your address, your name, find out what the next steps are."
While the Minnesota Freedom Fund is currently one of the more popular outlets for those looking to get involved in justice efforts in the wake of George Floyd's death, there are a number of organizations he said that were in need of support.
"You don’t have to be violating curfew or getting arrested, but there’s a lot of peaceful ways to be showing force of numbers," Boland said.