California’s New ‘Ebony Alert’ Will Inform Public About Missing Black Youth ‘Crisis.’ Some Fear It Could Make Ignoring Victims Easier

The state of California has implemented a new system to raise awareness and help aid in the search for missing Black people.

On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 673, approving the creation of an emergency alert tool, dubbed “Ebony Alert,” that would be used for Black youth aged between 12 and 25, NBC News reported. For state Sen. Steven Bradford, who spearheaded the bill, the new system is vital amid a growing crisis.

“Our Black children and young women are disproportionately represented on the lists of missing persons,” Bradford said in a press release. “This is heartbreaking and painful for so many families and a public crisis for our entire state. The Ebony Alert can change this.”

Sen. Steven Bradford Created The "Ebony Alert" Legislation
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill to create a new emergency alert system called “Ebony Alert.” State Sen. Steven Bradford created it. (Photo: CBS Sacramento/Youtube)

Alarming data from the Black and Missing Foundation sheds light on how, although Black people make up only about 13 percent of the U.S. population, nearly 40 percent of the people reported missing were persons of color. One of the contributing factors to this is the lack of mainstream media coverage, leaving many families yearning for answers about their missing loved ones. 

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“When time is critical, we must reach the most amount of people in the shortest time, and the media and social media are the only entities that have the power to amplify these stories and to keep them top of mind with the public, which is critical for bringing our loved one’s home,” the organization said

Per Bradford’s statement, the California Highway Patrol will activate the system at the request of a law enforcement agency that believes it will help with their investigation. Like the Amber Alert, it will inform the public through highway signs and help promote the spread of the information through other mediums, including television and social media. It’s expected to go into effect at the top of next year on Jan. 1, 2024.

Although officials and advocates have endorsed the move, other people online criticized the name and expressed their disappointment that Black children need a separate alert in the first place. 

“The way racism in this country works, having a separate alert to demarcate a Black child is concerning to me. 10 years from now if we get the data and it says Ebony alerts weren’t prioritized the same as Amber Alerts I wouldn’t be surprised,” an X user wrote.

“Ebony Alert is the BEST name they coulda came up w?” another person said. 

Some critics also took issue with the alert system singling out one race.

During an interview on TMZ on Wednesday, Bradford emphasized that the alert system is necessary to close the gap on the disparity in resources between missing Black people and their white counterparts. 

Read the original story here.

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