A bill to create an Ebony Alert in California, aimed at helping locate missing Black youth and women, has been approved by the state Legislature and is currently awaiting the signature of Governor Gavin Newsom.
State Senator Steven Bradford introduced the bill in March. Its primary goal is to address the “often ignored or lack of attention given to Black children and young Black women that are missing in California,” according to a statement. The legislation seeks to allocate the necessary resources and attention to safely bring Black missing individuals back home.
According to the Black and Missing Foundation, 38% of children reported missing in the U.S. are Black.
“These individuals are often mislabeled as runaways or presumed to have disappeared at their own will, while their white counterparts are listed as missing,” Bradford said. The distinction, he added, results in fewer resources and attention being devoted to finding them.
The proposed Ebony Alert system would be designed to issue and coordinate alerts when Black youth and young Black women up to the age of 25 are reported missing under specific circumstances, including “unexplained or suspicious circumstances, at risk, developmentally disabled, or cognitively impaired or who have been abducted.”
The bill has passed the state Legislature, but Governor Gavin Newsom has not publicly confirmed whether he will sign it into law.
A spokesperson for the Governor stated that they typically do not comment on pending legislation, and each bill is evaluated on its merits.
However, it is expected that Governor Newsom will make a decision soon, as the bill must be signed into law by October 14th for it to take effect.