Karen Juliane Crucillo
October 13, 2023
California has become the first state to launch ‘Ebony alert’ to find missing Black women and girls and ensure their safety from now on.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed Senate bill 673 this week for the new alert system.
California Launches ‘Ebony Alert’
‘Ebony Alert’ would help California highway patrol relay emergency alerts on phones and road signs that tell people that a Black person between the ages of 12 and 25 is missing.
The new alert system is similar to Amber and Feather alerts, which originated in the United States. However, the Amber and Feather alert would be effective only if the missing person is below 17 years old and the issue is the alert traces the person as a runaway, according to V Dare.
According to CNN, the ‘Ebony Alert’ can notify law enforcement officials about the missing person between 12 and 25, giving hope to the Black community, especially women and girls.
Furthermore, law enforcement officials can request an ‘Ebony Alert’ if the missing person could be a victim of trafficking or their physical safety is at risk due to their age, health, disability, environmental condition, and other possibilities of danger.
State Democratic Senator Steven Bradford said, “Our Black children and young women are disproportionately represented on the lists of missing persons.”
Bradford, who authored the bill, said that these missing Black children and women are heartbreaking for the families, and admitted that this is a public crisis for the entire state.
Increasing Rate of Missing Black Women, Girls
According to the federal government’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC), Black people represent 36% of those reported missing, totaling up to 546,000 people in 2022.
“It is important to continue to raise awareness about this issue and advocate for policies that prioritize finding missing people of color,” said Natalie Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation.
Wilson hopes the new alert system will work effectively with media and law enforcement to help families search for their missing loved ones. Wilson added that they ensure that every missing person receives the same amount of attention, regardless of race or socioeconomic status.
Hutchinson said it is distressing that the missing Black youth are often perceived as runaways or criminals. According to Hutchinson, the bill would be successful with the cooperation of government, police, and local non-profits that protect endangered young people.
“The systemic impetus for this is not being addressed, it’s looking at the front end of prevention,’ she added.
Photo credit: Reckon