Young women, legislators, and supporters of the Bronx-based nonprofit Girl Vow, Inc. rallied last Wednesday, May 26 at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall to call for passage of New York State Senate bill S6924.
Introduced May 20 by State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, S6924 looks to create a task force on “missing women and girls who are Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC)” and “to develop policy changes that will work to address the lack of care and concern for missing and murdered BIPOC women and girls with New York state governmental agencies.”
Ama Dwimoh, the special counsel to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, said there has been a longstanding issue of missing girls and “we’re not doing enough about it: you see when you think about the fact that statistics show 75% of the girls and the children that are missing are people of color, they’re Black or Native American/Indigenous peoples––and out of all of this the Latinas/Hispanics are left out of the equation. We’re not capturing all of the information in data and that’s a problem.”
“Senate bill S6924 which will establish a task force on missing girls and women who are Black, Indigenous and people of color must be developed,” said Dwimoh. “We need that [bill because] it will actually legitimize our concern, because we need assistance of government.”
The text for bill S6924 notes that between 64,000 and 75,000 Black women and girls are missing across the United States yet their cases often receive little media or police attention. “Law enforcement often categorize missing Black girls as runaways and fail to treat their cases with urgency,” the bill notes.
Before he died in a California prison at the end of 2020, Samuel Little, a man the F.B.I. described as the U.S.’s most prolific serial killer, confessed to killing 93 women of color.
As she took to the podium to announce support for S6924, Dawn Rowe, founder of Girl Vow, Inc. recalled the serial killer’s rationale: “He said, ‘Because I knew no one would look for them.’ He said, ‘I knew no one would look for them’ and that’s exactly what this task force is about. Because we know no one is looking for Black and Brown girls, and that’s a problem. We know that there is an inconsistency; there are levels of inequality that have shaped our lives. We know that we are forgotten. We know that we are second class citizens and it’s very important that we begin to dialogue and start the conversation in regards to missing and murdered women and girls of color.”