An additional alert system for locating missing Black women and children is law in California. The Ebony Alert system mirrors the widely-known Amber Alert in function but focuses on Black youth and women between the ages of 12 and 25. In comparison, the Amber Alert is limited to helping locate youth ages 17 or younger. This is not a separate system but an addition to the current system.
Black children, in particular, reportedly comprise 38% of missing children reported in the United States, per the Black and Missing Foundation. Senator Steven Bradford, a Black politician, introduced Senate Bill 673, and Governor Gavin Newsom signed it on Monday (Oct. 9). The NAACP California Hawaii State Conference sponsored the SB 673.
According to The Sacramento Bee, the state-limited Ebony Alert is the first alert system in the country to target missing Black children and women. Senator Bradford applauded the signed bill in a statement on Monday. It goes into effect as a law on Jan. 1, 2024.
“Today, California is taking bold and needed action to locate missing Black children and Black women in California. I want to thank the Governor for signing the Ebony Alert into law. Our Black children and young women are disproportionately represented on the lists of missing persons. This is heartbreaking and painful for so many families and a public crisis for our entire state. The Ebony Alert can change this,” Sen. Bradford stated.
As mentioned, the Black and Missing Foundation has previously summarized that Black youth, in particular, are disproportionately classified as “runaways” compared to “missing” white children. Senator Bradford’s statement added that 40% of women trafficked in the US are Black women, per a recent study.
Like the Amber Alert, the Ebony Alert will authorize law enforcement agencies to submit a request for activation to the California Highway Patrol. The SB 673 will allow electronic highway signs to blast the Ebony Alert. It also encourages TV, online, radio, and social media outlets to disseminate information about the missing or kidnapped.
“The Ebony Alert will ensure that vital resources and attention are given so we can bring home missing Black children and women in the same way we search for any missing child and missing person,” Sen. Bradford said.