Taking the first step in addressing historic disparities of violence against Black women in Minnesota, legislation establishing the first state Task Force on Missing and Murdered African American Women was signed on Monday. The task force will look at the systemic causes behind this disproportionate rate of violence facing black women in Minnesota and develop policy recommendations to address it.
“Generation after generation of Black and Indigenous communities have suffered the pain of losing loved ones through violence at higher rates than any other population. Today, I am ecstatic to join with our community to witness the signing of the first in the nation, Missing and Murdered African American Women’s Task Force, to address this inequity.” said Assistant Senate DFL Leader Senator Mary Kunesh, chief author of the legislation. “I am optimistic that this task force will enlighten our State to the burden and injustices our African American peoples have carried for centuries and that we will be able to build a future in Minnesota where the historic violence no longer exists.”
According to information from the National Crime Information Center, 90,333 Black women and girls were missing in 2020. The number amounts to nearly 34% of all missing females in the country in 2020, far higher than the percent that Black females make up of the entire female population. The task force will be composed of a 12-person panel, made up of representatives from the courts, law enforcement and victims’ advocacy groups. The task force will come up with policy recommendations to address the issue by December 2022.
“This task force is a long overdue acknowledgement of disparities that exist in our community that leave behind far too many victims and their families, and is an important first step in making sure we ensure every member of our community gets the attention and support they deserve,” said Senate DFL Leader Melisa López Franzen. “We have much work to do to right historic wrongs in our state and I look forward to working to implementing the policy recommendations they deliver.”