A new California law is set to create an emergency alert system to help find missing Black youth and women between the ages of 12 and 25, according to CNN. Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 673 into law on October 8th, and it will go into effect on January 1st.
The California Highway Patrol will be able to activate the new Ebony Alert system upon request from local law enforcement when a Black youth or young Black woman is reported missing under unexplained or suspicious circumstances, is considered developmentally disabled, cognitively impaired, or at risk, or has been abducted. The alert system is similar to the Amber Alert, and the California Highway Patrol can use highway signs and encourage news outlets to disseminate information from the Ebony Alert.
State Senator Steven Bradford, who sponsored the legislation, said that the Ebony Alert will ensure that vital resources and attention are given so that missing Black children and women can be found in the same way that any missing child or person is searched for. Last year, more than 130,000 Black children under 18 were reported missing in the US. The law enforcement officials will also be able to request an Ebony Alert if they believe the missing person is in danger due to their age, health, a disability, environmental conditions, or if the missing person is believed to be in the presence of someone potentially dangerous.
It’s worth noting that this is not the first time an alert system has been created to highlight the number of missing people of color in the United States. In 2022, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a law creating the first alert system for missing Indigenous people. The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System has confirmed that there are currently more than 23,000 missing persons cases open in the US.
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