In honor of Mama’s Day, and to raise awareness of the Black Mama Bailout initiative, Parenting for Liberation spoke with Tiara Moore and mother of 5, an activist, and mama who was bailed out by the Black Mama Day Bailout initiative. In our conversation, Tiara reflects on her experience with the criminal INjustice system, how she was arrested for defending herself, the fear tactics used and unlawful means of detainment that lead to so many Black folks taking plea deals, how Black Mama Bail Out came to her rescue, and how she used her experiences to help formerly incarcerated folks connect to resources and opportunities.
Tiara was featured in this article. And she shares more about herself and her experience in her own words below:
My name is Tiara Howlett (Moore). A mother of 5 beautiful children; 4 girls and a son. I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. My parents were never married. I was raised by a single mother, my aunt and the streets. When I was young I witnessed domestic violence from my brothers father beating my mother daily. As a teenager suffered from abandonment issues and depression. My mom moved around a lot so there was no stability or structure. I was diagnosed with RAD(reactive attachment disorder).
My first felony conviction at 20 years old was for attempted murder for defending myself from domestic violence. On February 25, 2005 I was forced to take a plea deal and was convicted of aggravated domestic battery a class b felony.
I was given 60 months probation which I successfully completed. After completing my probation period, I was not able to seek employment my life as I knew it was headed for destruction. I became a career criminal trying to survive. I had to hustle men, stores and organizations. My second and third felony convictions were for retail theft— this is how I fed my children, provide housing and maintained my livelihood.
I moved me and 3 daughters to Las Vegas for better opportunities and get my degree in the medical school. I graduated from northwest career college December 2017.
May 11, 2018 I was arrested for battery with a deadly weapon charge due to an argument with an associate. The police ran my name and looked at my past history and automatically assumed I had committed a crime. I was not guilty and refused to take a plea deal. My bail was posted by NBO National Bail Out Mamas Day Bail Out and Mass Liberation.
After my release, I joined Mass Liberation Project NV as a field organizing fellow working to end mass incarceration. I also worked as a campaign fellow for Plan Action on the district attorney electoral race. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I showed up, told my truth and starting giving back to my community.
I was the recipient selected to attend the national council for incarcerated and formally incarcerated women and girls in Tulsa Oklahoma were as Oklahoma has the highest incarceration rate in the United States.
I am now working as a activist giving back to my community helping connect the missing puzzle pieces to rehabilitation. I needed to get back to the real me doing what I love as a directly impacted black woman. Mass Liberation Project gave me a purpose and reason to fight and tell my truth. No matter what, giving up is not an option for me or going back to my old ways. I made the decision to finally use my voice and determination for something good. It was good to be surrounded by people who have been through similar struggles who have made the choice to transform their lives in spite of all of the challenges that we face. I will forever be grateful to Mamas Day Bail Out, Leslie Turner and Mass Liberation.