Cash bail has, for decades, been a fixture of the United States criminal justice system and only recently have states across the country begun to examine its consequences.
The overwhelming majority of people in jail because of cash bail have not been convicted of any wrongdoing. In fact, they're behind bars simply because they can't afford the bail that's been set.
In other words, poverty is criminalized.
This is a "gross injustice," according to Usher, singer and Global Citizen Ambassador, who joined Global Citizen at Soho House West Hollywood in Los Angeles on Sept. 4 for a screening of an episode from the new six-part documentary series ACTIVATE: The Global Citizen Movement.
In the second episode of the series, which was developed by National Geographic and Procter & Gamble and co-produced by Global Citizen and RadicalMedia, artists and activists Common and Usher join Global Citizen and grassroots organizers to advocate for the end of cash bail in New York State. The episode explores the roots of cash bail, its consequences, and more just alternatives, and officially airs on the National Geographic channel and online on Sept. 12.
Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans, Damond Jones, VP, Global Communications & Advocacy at Procter & Gamble, Global Citizen's Monae Evans, and Global Citizen Ambassador Usher.
"Tonight there are half a million people who are incarcerated and not because they are posing a risk or are a threat but simply because they’re poor," Usher told the gathered crowd to introduce the episode. "To me that’s insane."
"We really do want equality here in America and the world but there is obviously a line of separation for those who are poor, those who don’t necessarily have access to a constitutional right, due process, that I think we all deserve," he added later in the evening.
Global Citizen premiere of "ACTIVATE: The Global Citizen Movement" in West Hollywood, California.
ACTIVATE: The Global Citizen Movement showcases the behind-the-scenes stories that make the Global Citizen movement possible. Premiering Sept. 5, viewers will be able to learn about people living in extreme poverty and how to support campaigns trying to transform their lives.
Read More: 6 Myths About Cash Bail Reform, Debunked
"We’ve made it our collective goal to create this platform to drive citizen action on the issues that matter the most to the eradication of extreme poverty," said Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of Global Citizen. "Issues like access to girls' education, clean drinking water across Nigeria and across West Africa where we’ve been campagning, looking at disaster relief across Latin America, where we focused our efforts in Peru and those seeking refuge from Venezuela."
Global Citizen premiere of "ACTIVATE: The Global Citizen Movement" in West Hollywood, California. Pictured here: Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans, Damond Jones, VP, Global Communications & Advocacy at Procter & Gamble, and Global Citizen's Monae Evans.
How to Tune In
ACTIVATE: The Global Citizen Movement will air weekly in select markets beginning Sept. 5 on the National Geographic channel or globalcitizen.org/activate. You can view the second episode in the series, on ending cash bail, here.
ACTIVATE: THE GLOBAL CITIZEN MOVEMENT is a six-part documentary series from National Geographic and Procter & Gamble, co-produced by Global Citizen and RadicalMedia. ACTIVATE raises awareness around extreme poverty, inequality, and sustainability issues to mobilize global citizens to take action and drive meaningful and lasting change. The series will premiere globally in fall 2019 on National Geographic in 172 countries and 43 languages. You can learn more here.