Minnesota has become the first state to establish a task force that focuses on investigating missing and murdered Black women.
Although the bill was signed into law in July of this year, task force members gathered to celebrate the accomplishment as Gov. Tim Walz made it official in a ceremonial bill signing earlier this week.
The task force consists of a 12-member panel which includes representatives from the courts, law enforcement and victim advocacy groups.
“To be the first is great,” Mendota Heights (DFL) Rep. Ruth Richardson said. “But, we hope that we are not the last.”
Richardson says the task force was a long time coming. Rochester NAACP chapter officer Barbara Jordan, agrees.
“It’s about time,” she said. “…Whether it was a task force, or legislation, or a spotlight on this important area, whatever it is. If we could be that beacon for the rest of the country, I think the impact could be significant.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Black women are killed in the U.S. more than any other race and disappear at disproportionate rates.
Currently between 64,000 and 75,000 Black girls and women are missing in the United States, according to the CDC. In Minnesota, Black women are 2.7 times more likely to be murdered than other women in the state; a statistic that rises the national average at 2.2.
The task force is a one year term. Around this time next year, the team will have a report.
“We will be leaving the task force with a report that will act as a blue print, talking about the root cause, the data and the known issues and disparities facing Black women and girls,” Richardson said.