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The Voice of the Black Community

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Giving thanks: Panthers bail out indigent incarcerated for holiday
NFL team donates $100K for local initiative
 
Published Saturday, November 23, 2019 8:18 am
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | ASHLEY MAHONEY
The Carolina Panthers Player Impact Committee and David Tepper Charitable Foundation donated $100,000 to The Bail Project to pay for the release of 25 nonviolent jail inmates for Thanksgiving.

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Twenty-five families will be reunited for Thanksgiving.

The Bail Project received a $100,000 donation from The Carolina Panthers Player Impact Committee and the David Tepper Charitable Foundation to pay bail for nonviolent incarcerated who could not afford it. The donation also includes Thanksgiving meal packages and gift cards for groceries, clothing, and other necessities for inmates. The Bail Project collaborates with the Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office to identify people in need of bail assistance, as those in low-income situations often find themselves subject to losing jobs, housing, health or even child custody because they’re incarcerated.

“The players’ wishes were to ensure that no one with domestic violence, or no one with any violent crimes out of this 25-person bailout would be brought out,” said Shelton McElroy, national director for strategic partnerships of The Bail Project.

Said Mecklenburg County Public Defender Kevin Tully: “Using money to decide who can buy their freedom while awaiting trial while facing their charges results in a two-tiered system, and I’ve yet to meet an American who says they want a system that is bifurcated—one for people with one money, and one for people without.”

Panthers tight end Chris Manhertz, a committee member, said the players discussed where they wanted their impact to be felt while also trying spark change off the football field.

“For the most part, this was the most common denominator as far as what we wanted to do, and how we wanted to impact not only the people who are going through the situations they’re going through, but also encouraging the Charlotte community to really pay attention to this,” he said. “From that standpoint, we just want to bring more awareness to it.”

Said Panthers owner David Tepper in a statement: “[The Bail Project] works tirelessly to address this critical issue within the criminal justice space, and we are happy to help them with this initiative to reunite families in time for Thanksgiving.”

For Gemini Boyd, founder of youth intervention foundation Project B.O.L.T. (Building Outstanding Lives Together), it is about changing perception around incarceration. He was incarcerated at age16 for his involvement with a firearm on campus when he shot and wounded a student at Myers Park High School. He also did time for conspiracy on drug and firearm charges, for which he received 30 years and 20 years, respectively.

“I want to speak from the standpoint of an individual who was formerly incarcerated and the importance of this, because I stand in front of you today to change the narrative of how you see someone who has been incarcerated, who spent more than 20 years of his life incarcerated, and to know that an opportunity like this exists for families is very important,” Boyd said. “Until you have actually walked or sat inside of a jail cell, or I just challenge you to sit in your bathroom for 24 hours and shut the door to where you can’t get out, to have families to have an opportunity to connect during this time of year is very, very important.”

Boyd advocates that this gift is life changing.

“It’s so important that the lives you are changing right now can help spark lives being changed in the community,” he said. “The Bail Project has been in existence since Aug. 21 of this year, and we’ve already bailed over 136 people. We’re changing lives right now in front of your eyes.”

African Americans comprise 70% of the Mecklenburg’s incarcerated population although they make up 30% of the county’s total population.

Other members of the Panthers Player Impact Committee include Mario Addison, Ross Cockrell, Donatri Poe, Andre Smith, as well as Julius Peppers, who retired as a player in February. Areas the committee has chosen to address are affordable housing, career opportunities for youth, criminal justice reform, education, police and community relations, violence, voter registration, in addition to teen pregnancy prevention, as well as support for teen mothers.

 

Comments

Don't come asking the citizens for a new stadium
Posted on November 30, 2019
 
The point is a 100,000$ a year citizen gets 250.00$ bail where 30,000 a year citizen gets same which isnt a fair bail system and has never been fair bcz believe it or not some people are innocent helloooo and charges vary can depend on race but your too smart to know this ignorance is bliss. The bail system in this country is issue Ei Einstein.
Posted on November 25, 2019
 
Don't break the law and you won't have to go to jail. WTF...
Posted on November 23, 2019
 

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