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Gov. Newsom signs bill creating ‘Ebony Alerts’ for missing Black women and children

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ABC 7 News
October 11, 2023

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KABC) — Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a new law that will help officials track down missing Black women and children.

Sen. Steven Bradford’s “Ebony Alert” legislation will allow law enforcement to request an “Ebony Alert” to get the word out about missing Black women and children ages 12 to 25.

“California is taking bold and needed action to locate missing Black children and Black women in California. I want to thank the Governor for signing the Ebony Alert into law,” said Bradford. “Our Black children and young women are disproportionately represented on the lists of missing persons. 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. Amber Alerts have been used for two decades, but some critics say African Americans are often overlooked by the notification system.

How does it work?

According to Bradford’s office, SB 673 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.

Similar to the Amber Alert, the Ebony Alert would activate electronic highway signs to alert the public. It will also encourage TV, cable and radio stations along with online publications and social media outlets to help put the information out.

“The Ebony Alert will ensure that vital resources and attention are given so we can bring home missing Black children and women in the same way we search for any missing child and missing person,” said Bradford.

The Ebony Alert legislation is sponsored by the NAACP California Hawaii State Conference.

“Today’s bill 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,” said NAACP California Hawaii State Conference President Rick L. Callender. “This is a great first step to mitigating the racial inequities when it comes to Black women and children when they go missing.”

The Ebony Alert will become law on Jan. 1, 2024.

Photo credit: ABC 7

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