'Historic Moment': Hochul Enacts Task Force Focusing On Missing Women, Girls Of Color

Leaders in New York are aiming to put greater focus on cases involving missing girls and women of color.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. 

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Common/Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York from United States of America

A bill signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday, Dec. 21, established a task force on missing women and girls who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC).

The nine-member task force will include representatives from the Office of Family and Children's Services and New York State Police and will work to address discrepancies in how such cases are handled.

They will be required to submit a report on their findings and recommendations within two years.

“Public safety is my top priority, and I'm committed to doing everything in my power to protect all New Yorkers," Hochul said. "The statistics are alarming: thousands of women and girls who are Black, Indigenous or people of color go missing every year.

“We have a moral obligation to treat these cases with the care and seriousness they deserve, and this new Task Force will be a critical part of that effort."

Of the more than 271,000 missing women and girls reported in 2022, 43 percent were BIPOC, according to the FBI.

The bill was co-sponsored by Democratic Assemblymember Karines Reyes, who said women and girls of color often face “a systemic disregard for their cases,” from both police and media outlets.

“This new law will establish a task force to fully understand the gaps that exist in our state’s response in these cases, allow us to understand best practices and ensure that more of these cases are resolved,” Reyes said.

Among those celebrating the move is Dawn Rowe, the president and CEO of Girl Vow, Inc., a nonprofit group focusing on disadvantaged girls.

“Today is a historic moment for BIPOC women and girls whose stories and lives have been pushed into the shadows,” she said.

“You are no longer silent. From this day forward, we work to shatter the barriers until you have visibility.”

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