'Ebony Alert' proposed for missing Black women and youth in California

A California state senator is floating a bill to address the lack of attention of given to Black children and young women who go missing in the state.

Black children are disproportionately classified as "runaways" in comparison to their white counterparts who are classified as "missing" and, therefore, many Black children do not receive the Amber Alert, according to the Black and Missing Foundation. And 40% of sex trafficking victims are Black women.

To combat these statistics, Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) introduced SB 673, which would authorize a law enforcement agency to request that an "Ebony Alert" be activated in cases of missing Black child or woman between the ages of 12 and 25 years old. 

The bill would encourage news organizations and social media outlets to cooperate with disseminating the same information. 

When activated, the proposed system – similar to Amber or Silver alerts — would inform people on billboards, by text and phone, of missing Black children and young women.

"We want similar resources," Bradford told KTVU on Tuesday. 

Several laws have been created following high-profile cases of missing white girls and women, including Laci and Conner's Law. It recognizes a fetus as a legal victim and is named after Laci Peterson. There's the Amber Alert system, which is a child abduction emergency alert named after Amber Hagerman: and Megan's Law, which requires sex offenders to register themselves in a database and was named for Megan Kanka. 

The same has not been true for Black women. 

Since he introduced the bill in late March, Bradford said he has had "tremendous support" for something that is "long overdue."

He added that he hasn't heard any opposition so far from law enforcement, which is a good sign.

The purpose of his bill, he said, is to close the gap when Black women, girls and boys disappear. 

"They're loved just as much as their counterparts," Bradford said.