Minnesota just took a groundbreaking step in the right direction to prevent and solve cases of missing and or murdered Black women and girls.
A government-funded group called the Task Force on Missing and Murdered African American Women gathered for the first in the state earlier this week — the first task force of its kind to be established within the United States.
Minnesota Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL-Mendota Heights) authored the legislation that created the task force which is a 12-member panel.
The public official hopes the team will be able to tackle the vast array of issues that contribute to the disproportionate amount of violence towards Black women, “including human trafficking, sexual exploitation and urban violence,” according to Minnesota Public Radio News.
“We are going to leave this task force with a blueprint,” Richardson highlighted. “A blueprint for change. A blueprint to bring Black women and girls back home. A blueprint to solve their crimes and to be able to ensure that everyone gets equal access to the services that they need when they need them.”
State legislation voted in favor of the task force earlier this year. The take force plans on spending “the next year gathering evidence and hearing from experts,” according to local news source Kare 11. In addition, it hopes all of the research conducted will result in a report including practical next steps and shining “a brighter light on the questions of equity,” says the outlet.
Gov. Tim Walz got things rolling at the task force’s first meeting at Minneapolis’ Capri Theater by signing off on a ceremonial bill.
“We are standing on the shoulders of giants who have been fighting this lonely battle by themselves in many cases,” Walz said of the individuals and families who haven’t felt adequately supported as they seek justice for their loved ones.
“Now we’re just trying to bring some more support — to try and listen to the people who know what needs to be done,” the governor added.
Tens of thousands of Black women and girls go missing every year, with that number reaching almost 100,000 in 2020, reports NPR. Often, the victims’ stories go untold.
Minnesota’s newest task force may help make that less of a reality, while also inspiring other states to enact similar measures.
Visit the site Our Black Girls to read stories of Black women and girls who have been “mistreated, are missing, or murdered.”
Their lives matter.