Black women and children in the United States are going missing at a disproportionate rate, often receiving little media coverage. A newly passed California law aims to bridge the gap by creating an "Ebony Alert" system to call attention to cases with Black victims.
Similar to an Amber Alert for missing children or a Silver Alert for missing elderly people, an Ebony Alert would inform the public of missing Black children and young women. Introduced by State Senator Steven Bradford and signed Sunday by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, Senate Bill 673 aims to combat the racial biases that arise in missing persons cases.
"When someone who is missing is incorrectly listed as a runaway, they basically vanish a second time," Bradford said in a press release at the time. "They vanish from the police detectives' workload. They vanish from the headlines. In many ways, no one even knows they are missing."
How The System Works Against Finding Missing BIPOC Women And Kids
According to the Black and Missing Foundation, 38 percent of children in the United States that are reported missing are Black, despite Black people accounting for 14 percent of the population. Missing Black children are often disproportionately classified as "runaways," and therefore do not receive Amber Alerts.
The law will go into effect January 1, 2024. To request an Ebony Alert, the victim must be between 12 and 25 years old, at risk of trafficking or abduction, in physical danger, and/or physically or mentally disabled.
“The Ebony Alert ensures 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 continued, adding, "How can we find someone and bring them home safely when no one is really looking for them?"