Oakland, CA – At the May 30th Special Fiscal Year 23-25 Budget Study Session meeting, the Council unanimously voted to adopt Councilmember Reid’s resolution in support Senate Bill 673 (Bradford), which would establish an “Ebony Alert” to address often ignored or lack of attention to Black youth and young women that are disproportionately missing in California. SB 673 would authorize a law enforcement agency to request that an Ebony Alert be activated if that agency determines that it would be an effective tool in the investigation of a missing Black youth youth or young women between the ages of 12 – 25 years. SB 673 would encourage, but not require, television, cable, satellite, and social media systems to cooperate with disseminating timely, accurate information to engage the public and the media on the information contained in an Ebony Alert.
“A troubling number of our daughters, sisters, aunts, and mothers go missing throughout our community and they must be protected and safe in our city,” stated Councilmember Reid, “It is critical that state and local jurisdictions have access to the best enforcement tools and resources to swiftly respond to the crisis of kidnappings and attempted abductions in Oakland and across California.”
“Black women and Black Girls aren't prioritized. Our community is saying enough is enough. We would like to implement the Ebony Alert as a safety device for our BLACK Community,” said Daryle Allums, Founder and Executive Director of Adamika Village Stop Killing Our Kids Movement, and Oakland Frontline Healers, “2023 has been a traumatizing year for the community. This will be a very big key to supporting and saving [the lives of our Black girls and Black women]. I thank Councilmember Reid for putting a resolution together.”
Of the 1,500 missing persons reports in the city of Oakland, an alarming 400 cases are Black women. In 2022 alone, 20% of missing cases went unsolved. If signed into law, SB 673 could increase the number of solve rates for missing persons cases of Black women and girls in Oakland. Other organizations backing this resolution include S.H.A.D.E., and Love Never Fails, Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency (B.O.S.S.), and the East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC), Violence Prevention Coalition, Men of Influence, and Nola Brantley Speaks.
"Historical oppression and structural racism have resulted in the Black community struggling to get both the media and law enforcement to respond to missing Black girls and women with the seriousness and urgency that is needed to increase their safety,” shared Nola Kesia Brantley, CEO of Nola Brantley Speaks, “This has resulted in a disproportionate number of Black girls and women missing across the City of Oakland and the State of California. In order to increase [their safety] full support and resources should be put behind the Ebony Alert. All children deserve safety!"
The proposed resolution has seen strong coalition support. In addition to street-level outreach efforts to spread awareness of community safety strategies with organizations Adamika Village, Men of Influence, and Nola Brantley Speaks, Councilmember Reid, who is now a member of Mayor Sheng Thao’s newly formed Mayor’s Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, also partnered with Oakland’s Inspector General’s office, B.O.S.S., Youth Uprising, and Higher Ground NDC to host a Youth Safety Conference earlier this month where they heard from Black girls who had personal experiences with attempted kidnappings. The coalition is hosting another community conversation called the "About That Action" Town Hall, on Saturday, June 1st at EOYDC (8200 International Blvd., Oakland) from 5:30PM to 7:30PM.
“Protecting our youth should always be our number 1 priority. Our Black girls are disappearing at an alarming rate and we have the power to take action,” mentioned Khariyyah Shabazz, Deputy Executive Director Higher Ground NDC, “Signing SB 673 into law will initiate the process that will bring our girls back to safety. We must show them they matter, they are loved, and most importantly are protected.”
Councilmember Reid was grateful for the support for the community, calling attention and awareness to these issues and all of their work on the ground to counter the kidnapping attempts on our Black women and youths lives and to educate our community with safety tip and community conversation. When asked her perspective on the vote Councilmember Reid stated, “The community was incredibly encouraged by the unanimous support of my council colleagues for the Ebony Alert. It speaks volumes to ensure we are all aligned and accountable to deliver the action needed to support the measures called for in the resolution. Our Black girls and women deserve the proper resources and the platform necessary for those missing to be addressed with urgency. It is a circumstance of life-and-death as these cases are too often misclassified as runaways and grossly underreported in the news. This critical alert is needed NOW.”
To learn more about SB 673 visit this link. To view the proposed resolution visit this link. To keep up with what District 7 is doing in the community, check out their recent newsletters at this link.