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Proposed office would address concerns of missing, murdered Black women and girls

"It's important to know this crisis is getting worse and it's increasing," said Rep. Ruth Richardson.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Recent findings from the Missing and Murdered Black Women Task Force show a crisis when it comes to these cases nationwide.

"In 2020, there were over 100,000 Black women and girls who were reported missing," she said. "It's important to know this crisis is getting worse and it's increasing."

And for Representative Ruth Richardson, (DFL- Mendota Heights) who authored a bill to help create an office to help bridge the gap, it's a project close to her heart.

"When we think about the creation of this office it's in response to the startling fact that cases involving Black women and girls stay open four times longer than others," she said.

She says missing and murdered Black women and girls across the country are often left out of the national conversation.

"We know sometimes the impacts are related to the lack of media references, doesn't get as much media attention when they go missing. Thinking of the case from last summer, the young girl Elle, who still hasn't been found," she said.

She says it's important to take action to address these disparities.

"We saw a number of kids in foster care last summer go missing, and those were cases that were classified as runaways — girls as young as 10 years old, and I would argue any young girl who goes missing is endangered," she said.

In the end, she's hoping those actions will help to prioritize these cases and work toward prevention.

"One of the things this office is really going to be focused on is ensuring there is a standard around missing person alerts," she said.

The office would direct the BCA to operate an alert program for those who may be missing and endangered.

It would also distribute grants for community-based organizations helping with the cause.

Right now, Richardson says there have been several hearings on the bill, but she's looking forward to having it debated on the House floor. 

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