The fight for racial equality within the Black community is one that many of us inhabitants have been going hard at for decades — centuries even! Thankfully the past 15 years have seen major cultural advancements, from the election of Barack Obama as our first U.S. President of African American descent to the development of the Black Lives Matter movement in wake of our many brothers and sisters dying as the result of police brutality.
The latest act aimed to benefit the life expectancy and quality overall of Black people is happening over in California, as the state’s legislature officially approved a new Ebony Alert bill in hopes of better allocating necessary resources to locate missing Black youth and women primarily.
Before we get into the debate that’s been stirring on social media, take a look below at the facts behind this historical bill via the official statement released by Senator Steven Bradford, who introduced it back in March:
“According to the Black and Missing Foundation, 38% of children reported missing in the U.S. are Black. The U.S. population is 14% Black. 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.
Black women and girls are at increased risk of being harmed and trafficked. A recent report on human trafficking incidents across the country also found that 40% of sex trafficking victims were identified as Black women.
SB 673 would authorize a law enforcement agency to request that an Ebony Alert be activated if that agency determines that it would be an effective tool in the investigation of a missing Black youth or young Black women between the ages of 12 – 25 years. SB 673 would encourage news organizations including television, cable, online, radio and social media outlets to cooperate with disseminating the information contained in an Ebony Alert.”
While the stats are there, and being wrongfully listed as a runaway makes them, as Bradford put it, “basically vanish a second time,” some could argue that we then make missing person cases a “Black issue” as opposed to a global crisis. Similar arguments were raised during the pandemic of 2020 when minorities, particularly Black people considered ‘worse off’ socioeconomically, were prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccination. Public health official Georges Benjamin, MD, told The Nation’s Health that risk should take priority over race, stating, “We always say you should do this by risk, because when you do it by race, you are profiling people, you are stigmatizing them based on race. You are saying, ‘Black people are much more likely to get the disease because they are Black, not because they have situations in which they are much more at risk.’”
Supporters of the Ebony Alert argue its importance as vital, with NAACP California Hawaii State Conference President Rick Callender stating, “Black women and girls are at increased risk of harm and make up a disproportionate percentage of all missing people. The NAACP California Hawaii State Conference considers missing Black women and girls an epidemic and necessary for its own safety alert.” He went on to add of the bill itself, “SB 673 will create the Ebony Alert, providing law enforcement with additional tools and resources to help locate missing Black youth and adults through cooperation with the community and the CHP.”
What do you think of the Ebony Alert bill – a strong step towards saving our girls and youth, or a disservice to missing children and others that, quite simply, aren’t Black enough? See what social media has been saying below since it was first established back in March:
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Ebony Alert Bill: Cultural Priority Or Racial Prioritization? was originally published on blackamericaweb.com
1. Gabrielle Union talked about the way missing black women are treated. Pay attention
2. “Ebony Alert“ Councilmember Reid’s office reported last month that of the 1,500 missing person cases in the city of Oakland, 400 are Black women. During the EOYDC Town Hall, Reid also shared that Black men and boys combined account for about 500 missing persons cases in Oakland
3. What about Asians, Mexicans, Middle Eastern and Whites, can all children and women get the same attention?
4. Why not all missing youth instead of just black youth????
5. What about black men as well
6. Brown alert? Beige alert? Where will it end? Does the name Amber in amber alert mean white kids only? Does it offend? Does the Amber alert exclude brown and black skin people? I get the disproportionate alerts for black kids but this is not the solution IMO
7. This is a garbage bill. It should be for ALL black people. Not just black women and black kids.
8. Breaks my heart that no one gets this. How often do you turn on the news or Dateline, etc and see the pretty little blond white girl who is missing? How often do you see the pretty little black girl with braids who is also missing? Think about it. I support this 100%
9. If you want everyone to rally together and help find people regardless of race, continue to use the Amber alert and apply it equally to everyone. If you want to make people despise each other and not help, segregate your alerts by race. #EbonyAlert
10. Good move. Let words follow decisive action.
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