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Minnesota Becomes First State To Launch Task Force For Missing And Slain Black Women And Girls

Minnesota made history on Monday morning, becoming the first state in the U.S. to sign into law a task force on missing and murdered Black women and girls. Minnesota Representative Ruth Richardson, who authored the bill, tweeted the news, sharing a photo of the signed bill. 

“There are 64K+ Black women & girls missing in the U.S. BW & girls are overrepresented in missing person cases, receive less media attention, & their cases remain open 4X longer than others. We are overdue for a community response. Proud my bill became law & ready to get to work,” she wrote. 

The Minnesota Session Laws 2021, 1st Special Session states “$100,000 the first year and $50,000 the second year are to implement the task force on missing and murdered African American women,” Essence reports of the one-time allocation of funds. 

Lawmakers unanimously backed the bill in February in its first hearing before the Minnesota legislature. Its primary goal is to address the high numbers of slain and/or missing Black women and girls as well as come up with possible solutions to reduce the number of violent crimes perpetrated against the group, reports AP. It’s similar to another task force launched two years ago that was organized to confront the disproportionately high numbers of slain and missing indigenous women.

“We have to consider root causes of historical trauma, systemic racism, sexism, sexual objectification of Black women and girls, and the vulnerabilities that poverty, homelessness, child welfare disparities, domestic violence, sex trafficking and fear of law enforcement create,” Rep. Ruth Richardson said in Dec. 2020. 

Lakeisha Lee of St. Paul testified in February, telling the House public safety committee of how her 18-year-old sister, Brittany Clardy, went missing in 2013. Lee said she and her mother Marquita Clardy went to authorities to report her disappearance immediately but were seemingly dismissed by police who told the two she likely ran off with her boyfriend or friends. 

“We were adamant that something was wrong. She was not answering her phone. In the world of technology, we were asking friends, we were logging into her accounts, and we could not find any trace of her,” Lee said at the time. 

Clardy was found 10 days later dead inside her car which was discovered at an impound lot. Her killer was tried and sentenced to 40 years in prison on top of another 30 years for a similar killing.

“Maybe if we found her on that day she would still be here with us,” Marquita said.

She became visibly upset with emotion as she pleaded with lawmakers for support “so this does not happen again with anyone’s child.”

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