Groups Hold Vigil For Incarcerated Mothers at Cook County Jail

Community members and activists gathered in the park across from Cook County Jail on Saturday afternoon with formerly incarcerated mothers and mothers who have been separated from their children for a vigil to honor incarcerated mothers. “It’s a powerful force when we come together to free someone,” said  Debbie Buntyn, advocate and mother of Paris Knox, who was locked up inside the facility last Mother’s Day. “When Paris called [during last year’s vigil], that inspired me to know that she would be coming home. I felt such tremendous support, and I felt so happy because she knew she wasn’t alone and other women inside knew that someone cares, that there are people who want to support.” In Illinois, approximately 80 percent of people incarcerated in women’s prison facilities are mothers of children who are minors, according to Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration, who helped organize the vigil. The event also functioned as a drive to collect resources – including toiletries – for women and gender non-conforming people. “A lot of us wouldn’t have been locked up here if we had had resources in our community,” said one speaker at the vigil. “We have to fight for those resources on the outside too. I did not start being incarcerated just behind these walls.”


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