A California senator and governor are taking extra steps to ensure increased awareness of missing Black youth and women. As The Shade Room previously reported, Senator Steven Bradford proposed Senate Bill 673, or as most have come to know it, the “Ebony Alert.” The system allows authorities to inform the public when Black children and women between 12 and 25 go missing.
On Monday, October 9, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law.
Furthermore, the legislation is slated to take effect on January 1, 2024.
RELATED: California Governor Signs ‘Ebony Alert’ Into Law To Help Locate Missing Black Children & Women In The State
Social Media User’s Initial Reaction To The Ebony Alert
On October 10, The Shade Room revealed Newsom’s signing of the Ebony Alert via Instagram.
This prompted thousands of social media users to enter The Shade Room’s comment section and share their disapproval of the alert system.
“I don’t agree with the ebony alert, we only need one alert for children because race shouldn’t matter”
“why do we need TWO missing kid alert systems ???? I feel like this is another form of segregation because people can get an Ebony alert and not gaf. An amber alert was general, and it was for ALLLL children. I feel like this is not okay.”
“A way for authorities to decide how fast they want to respond 🙄”
Why The Ebony Alert May Be Needed
In the weeks afterward, Justin Carter sat down exclusively with Contessa Fitts for TSR Newz. Fitt’s sister, Nicole Fitts, and niece, Arianna Fitts, disappeared around Easter in 2016.
Fitts recalled filing a missing person’s report afterward. However, she was reportedly told that police didn’t suspect foul play because her sister and niece disappeared together.
However, days later, Fitts learned that her sister had been violently beaten, murdered, and left under a “wooden plank” in John McLaren Park in San Francisco. Even still, authorities reportedly refused to issue an Amber Alert for Wynn’s niece, Arianna, who remained missing.
To this day, Fitts remains uncertain regarding the authorities’ decision. However, the FBI has since revealed that Nicole Fitts and her daughter were not together during their disappearance.
Today, advocates for Black missing persons, such as Natalie Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, believe that if an Ebony Alert had been in effect during the time, Arianna Fitts would have been found.
Senator Steven Bradford Details The Ebony Alert
According to the Black and Missing Foundation, 38% of missing persons’ cases involve Black youth 18 and under. Additionally, 33% of all missing children cases involve Black children.
“The legislation was created because there is a disparity in getting media coverage, law enforcement resources, and even community engagement when someone is missing,” Wilson explained.
Additionally, we must note that the Ebony Alert will not act separately from the Amber Alert system but as an additional component.
Watch as Senator Bradford details the act, the decision to title it “Ebony,” and even responds to criticism of the legislation, exclusively to The Shade Room.