California has recently introduced the Ebony Alert, a new notification system that aims to raise awareness of missing black individuals between the ages of 12 and 25. Here’s the whole story.
The New Alert
The Ebony Alert, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom and set to take effect on January 1, 2023, was authored by state Senator Steven Bradford.
Its primary goal is to track down young people of color who have gone missing in California.
This initiative comes as a response to concerns that cases involving missing black individuals often receive less attention from the media and law enforcement, leading to delayed responses and a lack of urgency.
The new alert system is not meant to rival or replace the existing Amber Alert system, which has been in place for over two decades to locate missing persons, particularly children.
Instead, the Ebony Alert addresses a significant disparity in the attention and resources dedicated to cases involving missing people of color.
Critics of the Ebony Alert argue that creating a separate alert system based on race could inadvertently create discrimination.
Some argue that it might be seen as authorities having the discretion to determine how quickly they should respond based on the race of the missing person.
Berry Accius, founder of Voice of the Youth, shared his perspective on the matter, highlighting the disparity in urgency when it comes to missing white individuals compared to black individuals.
Expand the Existing System
State Senator Steven Bradford, who represents the Gardenia area, supports the Ebony Alert and acknowledged the need to expand upon the existing system for missing persons.
He said, “With this, the attention, the need, the urgency I feel will be met and it’s going to be a game changer.”
One of the key distinctions between the Ebony Alert and the Amber Alert is that the former covers individuals up to 25 years of age, extending its reach to a broader demographic.
The Ebony Alert is designed to encompass missing black youth and those considered at risk or who may have mental health issues.
In addition to traditional notification methods, such as media alerts, the system can use technology like roadside signs and electronic notifications to reach a wider audience.
A Promising Step Forward
Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump expressed his support for the bill, calling it a promising step toward finding missing black youth.
However, the reactions to the Ebony Alert have been mixed.
Mixed Views on Social Media
Several social media users shared their thoughts on the incident.
One user wrote, “It’s sad that we have to have a separate system for us because of how the current system views black and brown people.”
Another user added, “So Hispanic, Asian, Native American, and Caucasian kids don’t matter? So now, if I hear an Amber Alert, it NO LONGER can be a Black child? This WILL put them in jeopardy. This is so evil on SO many different levels and whoever thinks that this is ok is a horrible person.”
“It Creates a Divide”
A third user commented, “If you want to segregate, then do it. It’s BS. It creates a divide. Insinuating that white people just aren’t looking and they don’t care.” Another added, “This is actually insulting!!! The Amber Alert was named after a child AMBER and was designed for ALL MISSING CHILDREN!”
“This Seems Like a Setup”
A fourth user wrote, “This seems like a setup. Is this going to be more or less prioritized? Seems like we should make the system stronger and more effective, not segregate it… if a child’s missing, I want to know when, where, and who immediately so the perp can be located.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / a katz