Wisconsin State Capitol, missing, Black women Girls, task force

Wisconsin GOP Leaders Block Task Force To Find Missing and Murdered Black Women, Girls 

Y'all know who NOT to reelect, right?

Republican Sen. Duey Stroebel says he won’t schedule a hearing to vote on legislation to find missing and murdered African American women and girls.

Bi-partisan Assembly Bill 615 (AB-615) would create a task force of law enforcement officers, lawmakers, legal experts, and violence-focused groups to create policy recommendations on improving safety measures for Wisconsin-based Black women and girls by December 2024.

Created in 2023 by State Rep. Shelia Stubbs (D-Madison), the legislation is supported by several, but without a Senate committee hearing, it is unlikely to receive a vote during the Senate’s final floor session at the end of March 2024. 

Stubbs was inspired after meeting with mothers of missing daughters like Georgia Hil, whose daughter, Lasheky, has been missing since March 2023. After Stubbs said she “heard Ms. Georgia’s cry,” Hill thought it would be ideal for someone to do something. “That would be great if they can do that because a lot of Black girls are just left out of here being statistics,” Hill said. 

According to Fox 6 Milwaukee, Black women and girls made up 36% of total missing women in the U.S. in 2022. Stubb’s idea for the task force would be comprised of 17 members with the responsibility of examining factors that contribute to violence against Black women and girls.

“We want to look at patterns, underlying factors, to explain why its disproportionate higher levels of violence that occurred,” she said. 

As a personal issue to her, the lawmaker believes Black women and Black girls not only deserve to grow up in Wisconsin but be safe as well. “Those missing Black women look like me. Those little missing Black girls look like my daughter,” Stubbs said.

However, Strobel, the committee chair overseeing the legislation, says there are barriers to his decision.

“First and foremost, the creation of a task force within the state Department of Justice is not contingent on the enactment of legislation — Attorney General Josh Kaul has the power to do this already, as he has in the past,” Stroebel said, referring to the task force on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Kaul created in 2020.

Pointing out that he has spoken to bill authors, Strobel added that the facts that led to the bill’s creation “omit critical context regarding crime victimization.”

“I believe that every person who is missing or murdered deserves equal justice under the law,” he continued. 

“I have a difficult time legislating in a way that allows the government to prioritize justice based on a victim’s race or gender…I simply do not support advancing legislation to create a state government task force focused on only one facet of a much broader societal problem.” 

A number of state-supported entities, including the City of Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, have issued their support of the bill. With that level of support, Stubbs said Strobel’s comments were shameful, but his reasoning was an added reason for the task force’s need. “Let the experts go to work, to begin to look at the data, to begin to look at what’s happening. Something is happening,” Stubbs said. 

“I want to be clear that Black women and Black girls experience violent crime victimization at higher rates than white women, despite making up less of the population of the state of Wisconsin, in the United States, and … I believe that my effort should be taken seriously, and I want to make sure that this legislation gives us greater accountability, transparency and closure for African American female victims of violence.”