Missing Black teens in CA could get their own Ebony Alert system

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State Senator Steven Bradford wants California to establish an Ebony Alert system for Black kids and young women who go missing in the state. Photo by Shutterstock.

Black kids and young women go missing in the United States at disproportionate rates, but are less likely to receive attention than other groups. A new bill by State Senator Steven Bradford of Gardena attempts to change that by creating an “Ebony Alert” system. 

“We just don’t ever see the same level of attention [and] same level of resources, even from law enforcement, when it comes to looking for these individuals,” says Bradford

Similar to an Amber Alert, the Ebony Alert would be activated by law enforcement agencies when they determine it would be a helpful tool in their search for missing Black kids and women between the ages of 12 and 25. 

As for concerns that law enforcement agencies could still be biased when determining whether to issue an Ebony Alert, Bradford says he is willing to adjust his bill to address the problem.

“If training is what [law enforcement agencies] need, we will promote training, but I find that just a scapegoat and a cop out when they talk about [needing] additional training, even with the use of deadly force,” says Bradford. 

If approved, the Ebony Alert wouldn’t be the only alert system dedicated to missing people from certain communities in California. Last year, state lawmakers passed a bill by Southern California Assemblymember James Ramos that established a Feather Alert, for missing Indigenous people. The state also has the Silver Alert for missing seniors.




Tara Atrian