Remembering DeSean Pittman
Four years ago today, 17-year-old DeSean Pittman was shot and killed by Chicago Police. A few days after DeSean’s death, his family gathered for a vigil to uplift his memory. Chicago Police came and disrupted the vigil by shouting racial slurs, threatening attendees, and knocking over candles that had been lit for DeSean. The vigil ended with the arrest of five of DeSean’s friends and family members, five of whom were incarcerated in Cook County Jail because they could not afford to pay a money bond.
Future co-founders of the Chicago Community Bond Fund worked with DeSean’s family to raise nearly $30,000 to free everyone arrested at the vigil. It took four months to raise the money needed to free the last person, a cousin of DeSean’s, from Cook County Jail. After he was released, his mother pointed out how no one should have to experience what they just went through: fundraising for months to get their child out of a cage. She and others impacted by the arrests at the vigil began working with activists from across the city to launch the Chicago Community Bond Fund, which made its public debut in November 2015. In our first year of operations, CCBF posted over $300,000 to free 45 people from Cook County Jail or house arrest with electronic monitoring. In our second year, CCBF posted over $250,00 to free 59 people from Cook County Jail or house arrest.
We keep DeSean in our hearts as we continue to fight for a world without police violence, money bond, and pretrial incarceration.