A California Bill Would Create an Alert System for Missing Black Women and Youth
Jonathan Franklin, NPR, April 8, 2023
Each year, thousands of Black youth and women go missing across the U.S. at a disproportionate rate. And despite the desperate pleas for media attention, their cases are often overlooked, failing to grab national headlines.
A new bill proposed in California would address that by creating a public alert system similar to those designed to help find abducted children and older adults who’ve gone missing.
Senate Bill 673, introduced last week, would create the “Ebony Alert” system for missing Black children and young women. When activated, the proposed system – similar to Amber or Silver alerts — would inform people of missing Black children and young women.
State Sen. Steven Bradford, who introduced the measure, says the new alert system would ensure that resources and attention are given to bringing home missing Black women and children — eliminating implicit racial bias in cases involving missing persons of color.
On average, more than 600,000 people are reported missing in the United States each year, according to research from the National Crime Information Center. Last year, roughly 546,000 people were reported missing across the country — with 36% of those cases being missing Black youth and women.
In 2021, 38% of people who were reported missing in the United States were Black — more than double the Black population of about 14%, according to the Black and Missing Foundation.
“When time is critical, you need to be able to reach the most amount of people in the shortest period of time,” Natalie Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, told NPR. The nonprofit is dedicated to bringing awareness to missing persons of color.
It’s no secret that news outlets and law enforcement agencies nationwide are continuing to feed into the implicit racial bias in coverage when it comes to missing person cases.
However, some outlets and organizations are making an effort to be more inclusive when it comes to telling stories about missing persons of color.
Our Black Girls centers on the stories of Black women and young girls in the U.S. who have gone missing or, in some cases, were found dead under bizarre conditions.