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A California State Senator has proposed an “Ebony Alert” bill to address the lack of attention given to Black youth and women that go missing.
California State Senator Steven Bradford introduced SB 673, dubbed “Ebony Alert”, to address the often ignored or lack of attention given to Black youth and young Black women that are missing in California.
“When someone who is missing is incorrectly listed as a runaway, they basically vanish a second time. They vanish from the police detectives’ workload. They vanish from the headlines. In many ways, no one even knows they are missing. How can we find someone and bring them home safely when no one is really looking for them,” Bradford said in a press release.
38% of children reported missing in the U.S. are Black
According to the Black and Missing Foundation, 38% of children reported missing in the U.S. are Black, despite Black people making up only 14% of the U.S. population. Black children are disproportionately classified as “runaways” in comparison to their White counterparts who are classified as “missing” and, therefore, many Black children do not receive the Amber Alert.
Black women and girls are at increased risk of being harmed and trafficked. A recent report on human trafficking incidents across the country also found that 40% of sex trafficking victims were identified as Black women.
“The Ebony Alert would ensure that resources and attention are given so we can bring home missing Black women and Black children in the same way we would search for any missing child and missing person,” Bradford said.
Under the proposal, a law enforcement agency could request an alert to be activated if:
- The missing person is between 12 and 25 years old
- They may have been a victim of trafficking or abduction
- Their physical safety is endangered
- They suffer from a physical or mental disability
- And other factors
The “Ebony Alert” bill is sponsored by the NAACP California Hawaii State Conference. Bradford said the bill has passed through the Senate Public Safety Committee and now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.