Lawmakers Propose Task Force To Address Missing And Murdered African American Women

by Gee NY
Credit: Credit: Tom Williams/Getty Images

In response to a striking racial disparity in missing women and girls in Florida, State Senator Rosalind Osgood and Representative Felicia Robinson have taken firm steps.

They have introduced legislation aimed at establishing a “Task Force on Missing and Murdered African-American Women.”

The proposed task force, outlined in SB 354 and HB 325, would operate within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and receive $150,000 for a year-long investigation into the root causes of the issue.

According to data from the Florida Crime Information Center, an FDLE public access system, 44% of the 123,869 women reported missing in the state from January 1, 2018, to October 17, 2023, were African American.

This percentage is significantly higher than the 17% of the state’s population identified as Black or African American, according to Census data.

The legislation highlights the urgency of the matter, with Senator Osgood stating:

“The disproportionately high number of missing persons and the systemic issues that contribute to these disparities call for special attention. We must stand firm in our commitment to justice, equality, and the safety of all individuals.”

The proposed task force aims to advise the FDLE’s Executive Director and make recommendations to the Legislature on ways to reduce violence against Black women and girls.

At least 12 members, appointed by September 1, 2024, would include representatives from the Senate, House, law enforcement associations, legal groups, and statewide advocacy organizations.

State Senator Rosalind Osgood (L) and Representative Felicia Robinson

Task force responsibilities include examining systemic causes behind violence against African American women, developing methods for tracking and collecting data on the issue, and proposing measures to reduce and eliminate the problem while providing support to victims, their families, and communities.

Representative Robinson emphasized the societal importance of addressing these disparities, stating:

“Investigating the disproportionate trends of missing and murdered African-American women is not just a matter of justice; it’s a matter of fulfilling our society’s commitment to equality and protection.”

If approved, the legislation would take immediate effect, with both SB 354 and HB 325 awaiting hearings before the committees to which they were referred.

The proposed task force would need to submit a comprehensive report by December 15, 2025, before disbanding sixteen days later.

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