California legislator proposes ‘Ebony Alert’ bill to report missing Black children, young women

State Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) speaks at a news conference at Dodger Stadium.
State Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), pictured in 2021, has proposed a bill to establish an “Ebony Alert” system for missing Black children and young women.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
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A California legislator proposed a bill to establish an “Ebony Alert” system that would inform people of missing Black children and young women — similar to the Amber Alert.

State Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) introduced Senate Bill 673 last week, citing the overrepresentation and underreporting of missing Black children and young women in California.

“The Ebony Alert would ensure that resources and attention are given so we can bring home missing Black women and Black children in the same way we would search for any missing child and missing person,” Bradford said.


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The bill would allow law enforcement agencies to authorize the issuance of an Ebony Alert in cases in which they believe the alert would help in their investigation into a missing person. The legislation allows for alerts to be sent in missing person cases involving Black youths or young Black women ages 12 to 25, according to Bradford.

In 2018, Black children younger than 18 made up about 37% of all missing children in the U.S., despite Black children making up only about 14% of the country’s population, according to the FBI National Crime Information Center.

It’s not the first bill of its kind in California. Similar laws have already been passed for elderly people (Silver Alert), people with mental health problems and missing Indigenous people (Feather Alert).

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The Ebony Alert bill states that law enforcement agencies could request the California Highway Patrol to send out an alert in the “appropriate geographical area” in cases in which Black youths are “reported missing under unexplained or suspicious circumstances.”