A newly proposed bill is seeking to combat the issue of Black women and girls who go missing. California Senator Steven Bradford introduced Senate Bill 673, which would create an “Ebony Alert” for those 12 to 25 years old.
The senator says he hopes the bill will address racial bias for missing people of color.
“We must do a better job of finding all missing persons, especially persons of color who don’t receive the same level of attention in the media,” Bradford told 21Ninety.
In an interview with Fox KTVU, Bradford said “Amber Alert” sometimes negates Black people. Bradford told the station the common denominator is race. Similar to Amber Alert, Bradford’s proposed, “Ebony Alert,” would alert phones and billboards.
Amber Alerts cover children 17 and under. SB-673 would alert the public to missing Black women and children to up to 25 years old. Bradford says that age range is an important part of the bill.
“Increasing the age to 25 for the Ebony Alert for young Black women would increase the possibility of finding them and saving them from sex trafficking,” Bradford told 21Ninety.
During the KTVU interview, Bradford said young African American women are often listed as “runaways” rather than being possibly in danger of sex trafficking. Bradford told the news outlet when young Black girls are caught, they are often arrested for “juvenile prostitution.”
Bradford told 21Ninety Black women are prone to be victims of sex trafficking.
“There is no such thing as juvenile prostitutes. Anyone under 18 cannot consent to sex,” Bradford said. “It’s vital that law enforcement has the tools and the media have the information to help locate these survivors and bring them back home to safety.”
A Change Of Mindset
The bill was proposed in March. Even though this is a start to bring home young Black girls and boys, Bradford wants to see changes in how young Black people are viewed. He believes people need to dismiss the idea that Black women and children’s lives are less valuable.
“Sadly right now, race seems to play a part in how we categorize and prioritize missing Black persons. This is wrong,” Bradford said.
Bradford added that when a missing person is incorrectly listed as a runaway they basically vanish a second time.
“They vanish from the police detectives’ workload. They vanish from the headlines. How can we find someone and bring them home safely when no one is really looking for them?” Bradford questioned.