Tens of thousands of Black youth and women go missing across the U.S. each year. Their cases rarely grab national headlines, let alone receive the resources dedicated to finding them. California is creating a statewide alert system to help locate and bring attention of missing Black children and young Black women, the first in the nation to do so, NPR reports. A bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom will create the "Ebony Alert" system for missing Black children and young women. The proposed system – similar to Amber or Silver alerts — would inform people of missing Black children and young women between the ages of 12 to 25. The alert system will make use of electronic highway signs and encourage the use of television, radio, social media and other platforms to spread information about the missing persons alert.
State Sen. Steven Bradford, who introduced the measure, emphasized the disparity between resources and coverage in searching for white people and those of color across California. He said, "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." More than 600,000 people are reported missing in the U.S. each year, says from the National Crime Information Center. Last year, up to 546,000 people were reported missing across the U.S., with 36% of those cases identified as Black youth and women. While Black people make up 13% of the U.S. population, nearly 40% of missing persons cases are people of color, according to the Black and Missing Foundation. Natalie Wilson, co-founder of the group, said, "We must ensure that every missing person is given the same amount of attention and resources, regardless of their race or socioeconomic status."