A Major Milestone: CCBF’s Last Bond Posting

After 8 years of operating a revolving fund to free our neighbors, Chicago Community Bond Fund has paid our last bond in December 2023. CCBF’s revolving fund has paid over $7 million in bonds to free over 900 people. The full implementation of the Pretrial Fairness Act fulfilled a core part of CCBF’s mission. As of September 18, 2023, money bond is transitioning out of the Illinois Criminal Courts. Our team will continue working towards a successful closure of CCBF’s revolving fund while supporting people whose bonds we previously posted.

CCBF started as a revolving fund in response to the incarceration of DeSean Pittman’s loved ones at a vigil in his honor. The Chicago Police Department murdered DeSean Pittman on August 24, 2014. After raising money for the release of DeSean’s loved ones, his family and other community members pushed for continuing to gather funds to help other people facing the injustice of money bonds. A year later, CCBF was founded through this collective effort. Since 2015, we have paid 1,076 bonds for 917 people, amounting to $7,380,607.40. 

We began as a volunteer collective paying a dozen bonds a year and grew to a full-time staff of 10 people paying nearly a million dollars in bonds for hundreds of community members. In 2020, we witnessed the collective response to the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police as the latest murder in the ongoing police killings of Black lives across the country. The mass protests and demonstrations spread across the country and the world. People rose up in defense of Black lives and against state violence, and many of the demonstrators were arrested. During the Uprisings of 2020, we responded as quickly and effectively as possible on behalf of those whom the state sought to silence by criminalizing dissent. And you responded by helping us raise millions of dollars from more than 75,000 donors to free our comrades and give them a fighting chance in court. In turn, we continue to provide direct monetary support through commissary payments for those arrested during the Uprisings and remain in custody either in Cook County Jail or in Illinois or federal prisons. As we shared in 2020, CCBF is honored to support the people who risk their lives in the streets to bring forth a better world out of the ashes of this one. 

Posting Our Last Bond

On December 18th, 2023, several of our staff members and a long-time volunteer and co-founder came together to share in this collective moment. Christina Lorenzo, CCBF’s Post-Release Support Coordinator, shared this reflection: “The last bond posting was bittersweet. I get overwhelmed by the thought of all the people we’ve been able to help over the years and by all the support we’ve received from so many volunteers. How incredible that the volunteer who posted our first bond ever also posted the last! It speaks volumes of the commitment people have had to this movement — it’s so inspiring! It was wonderful to come together as a team where we all had a chance to reflect and share memories of our time with CCBF. It has been a long road with lots of organizing to make the end of the money bond system happen in Illinois. I feel immense gratitude for being a part of the journey.” 

While we understand that there may still be people who have high unattainable bonds issued before full implementation, we are no longer posting bonds this year with the knowledge that money bond is transitioning out of the Illinois Criminal Courts. This new reality is a fulfillment of our mission to end money bond. Therefore, the Revolving Fund team will transition towards closing the revolving fund. 

Thank you for your support and companionship over the years! We are humbled by the amazing people and the work in this movement towards liberation, a movement that we are humbled to be a part of. It is because of you all that money bond has been eliminated and we are building stronger practices of community care and abolition, one day at a time. 

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