October 12, 2023
A bill to create an alert notification system for missing Black children and women has been signed in California, making the Golden State the first to install this type of alert system in the country.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the signing of Senate Bill 673 on Monday, which created the “Ebony Alert” system.
The system, similar to the Amber Alert, would activate electronic highway signs, aid law enforcement in finding missing Black youths and women, and encourage media outlets to cooperate with information found in the Ebony Alert.
The bill also authorizes a law enforcement agency to request that an Ebony Alert be activated by the California Highway Patrol if the investigating agency determines that it would be helpful.
Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) introduced the bill earlier in the year, which will officially become law on January 1, 2024.
“Our Black children and young women are disproportionately represented on the lists of missing persons,” Bradford said. “This is heartbreaking and painful for so many families and a public crisis for our entire state. The Ebony Alert can change this.”
According to the Black and Missing Foundation, 38% of children reported missing in the U.S. are Black.
The foundation adds that Black children are disproportionately classified as “runaways” in comparison to white children, who are classified as “missing.” As a result, many Black children do not receive the Amber Alert or media attention highlighting that they are missing.
Rick L. Callender, president of the NAACP California Hawaii State Conference, said, “[The Ebony Alert] is a great first step to mitigating the racial inequities when it comes to Black women and children when they go missing.”
He continued, “This bill’s signing represents a historic breakthrough, guaranteeing that Black children and young Black women will receive the attention and protection they need when they are reported missing.”
Photo credit: FOX40.com