A bill aimed at creating a system similar to Amber Alerts but specifically for missing Black young adults and adolescents was introduced into the California Senate last month.
Senate Bill 673, introduced by Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), would create the “Ebony Alert” system, which would have the California Highway Patrol take steps to assist local law enforcement agencies in finding missing people such as “issuing a be-on-the-lookout alert, an electronic flyer, or changeable message signs.”
“The Ebony Alert would ensure 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,” said Bradford.
The bill lays out considerations for if an Ebony Alert should be issued, including if the missing person is between 12 to 25 years of age; if they suffer from a mental or physical disability; if their physical safety may be endangered; and other factors.
According to the bill, Black children are disproportionately classified as “runaways” in comparison to their white counterparts which means fewer resources are dedicated to finding them.
“When someone who is missing is incorrectly listed as a runaway, they basically vanish a second time,” Bradford said. “They vanish from the police detectives’ workload. They vanish from the headlines. In many ways, no one even knows they are missing.”
Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law the creation of the “Feather Alert” system specifically directed at finding indigenous people reported missing.