The First-Ever Office For Missing Black Women and Girls Opens In Minnesota

It’s time to get to the bottom of things.

The first Office of Missing and Murdered African American Women and Girls is set to launch in Minnesota following the efforts of a task force focused on addressing missing cases of Black women and girls across the nation.

According to MPR News, the office is prepared to investigate cold cases and reopen any suspicious cases that proclaimed any Black women or girls who died by suicide or drug overdose.

“This is a real, true crisis,” said State Rep. Ruth Richardson (D), who carried the bill to create the new office. “One of the reasons this is so important is because when we see this data that our cases are not getting solved, or cases are not getting resources, it actually puts a target on the back of Black women and girls.”

The office will serve as a point of contact for anyone who feels hesitant to speak with police pertaining to active cases. “We can work towards a community intervention model that really serves all families for generations so that the office doesn’t have to be a forever office,” said Lakeisha Lee, the leader of Minnesota’s task force. “We can end this epidemic.” Such cases hit home for Lee whose family was reportedly brushed off by police after reporting her  sister, Brittany Clardy, missing, who was murdered over a decade ago.

Minnesota’s House of Representatives passed the bill in March, to create the Office of Missing and Murdered African American Women. The office said it planned to allocate a $1.24 million annual budget to assist with cases. The budget is also supposed to be used toward the provision of grants to community organizations working to prevent issues such as domestic violence and human trafficking. Richardson noted that 40% of the 7% population of Black women are victims of domestic violence, which was found to be a contributing factor to missing persons cases.