California State Senator Steven Bradford (D-35th District) is one of many legislators angry at the growing number of missing Black women and girls across the country, and the underreporting it gets from national media and law enforcement.

In response, he introduced Senate Bill 673 or “Ebony Alert,” which is a notification system for missing Black women and girls that will work in the same way an Amber Alert and/or Silver Alert does for missing children and senior citizens.

If passed, the “Ebony Alert” would encourage news organizations—including, outlets to television, cable, online, radio and social media outlets—to cooperate and spread information from the alert.

“The evidence and examples of living here in California and across the country and seeing how the lack of attention is shown when African American girls and women disappear versus our White counterparts, and the level of media attention and the number of digital boards on our freeways that we see all the time making you aware of someone missing, but rarely is that same level of attention by the media and law enforcement directed toward African American girls and women,” Sen. Bradford told The Final Call.


Senator Bradford is vice chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications, and represents the Los Angeles County communities of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, San Pedro, Torrance, Watts, Willowbrook, and Wilmington.

He said the problem has persisted since the beginning of time. “Girls who disappear, they are quickly labeled as ‘runaways’ versus when little White girls disappear, they’re labeled as ‘abducted,’” he continued. The bill was introduced on March 23.

The National Crime Information Center reported in 2020 that nearly 100,000 of the 268,884 missing women reported were Black women and girls.

Sen. Bradford hopes with the “Ebony Alert” Black women and girls who go missing will be tracked easier and found quicker.

“Law enforcement will hopefully dedicate the same level of resources and man hours to searching for these African American individuals who disappear as they do everyone else, so I’m just hoping it heightens the awareness but, most importantly, it brings these women and girls home to their loved ones,” he said.

Sen. Bradford expects for the bill to be moved to a committee and heard by the Senate, which is where all proposed legislation goes for consideration, in at least 30 days.

For now, the “Ebony Alert” is well-received.

John Fountain, a journalism professor at Roosevelt University in Illinois, started the “Unforgotten 51” project to shed light on the names of 51 Black women over two decades who went missing in Chicago and their unsolved cases.

When he heard about the proposed bill, he said, “I think this is an excellent proposal. It further calls attention to missing people of color. Every and anything we can do locally, regionally, and nationally to continue to spotlight this issue and more importantly, to address it is critical.”

Tamar Manasseh is the leader of Mothers Against Senseless Killings (MASK) and is also a rabbi in and for the Black community, and she said: “I think somebody needs to look out for us. No one has ever protected our women, our purity—they’ve exploited it.”

She said Sen. Bradford’s proposal is needed. “We need this because we are the most unprotected women ever. I think this could definitely be an example for what could happen in the rest of the country. California may just be leading the charts,” said Ms. Manesseh.

“How do we go about publicizing and making them aware of it? Nobody wants to talk about Black girls missing, they don’t hear enough about it so they don’t think it can happen to them. I think Black parents should talk about that when they’re five years old.”

In a message to parents, Ms. Manesseh said that it is critical to do everything necessary to protect Black girls. “We do our children a whole disservice by pretending like this whole post-racial thing exists,” she said. “America is never going to be post-racial; it was literally written with it (racism) in mind.”