The First-Ever Government Funded Task Force Launched in Minnesota to Tackle Cases of Murdered and Missing Black Women

From left: Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, State Rep. Ruth Richardson, Former State Senator Jeff Hayden and Dr. Peter Hayden at bill signing for the task force on murdered and missing Black women. Image: Rebecca Rabb

Black women are in danger and it’s not a secret. In a report issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that detailed the surge in crime seen in the United States last year, it was highlighted that, in this country, approximately four Black women or girls were killed a day. Although there are varying causes for what leads to this type of violence, one principle fact remains true—Black women of all backgrounds and intersectional identities deserve to grow old and live their lives free from the fear that they won’t make it home to safety. 

This past week, the state of Minnesota made history after the first-ever government-funded working group convened for the first time where the topic at hand was Black women. The panel of twelve, in conjunction with Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan, Public Safety Commissioner, John Harrington, State Representative, Ruth Richardson, and others, partook in a discussion to solve the disparity in cases surrounding missing and murdered Black women. After the Minnesota legislature voted on the creation of this task force earlier this year, a specific emphasis would also be placed on how these cases were treated in comparison to that of women of other ethnic groups. 

In a statement made at the press conference, Commissioner John Harrington stated, “We have seen Black women shot and killed in both St. Paul and Minneapolis and in a manner never experienced before. We know a few things. We know that Black women die of homicide at twice the rate of the general population of women. We know that cases involving Black women tend to receive less attention from both law enforcement and from the media.  As of this week, nationally, 543,000 women are missing and 33% or 145,000 are people of color.”

Now that this task force has been created, we can only hope that it sets a precedent of seriousness in regard to Black women’s safety in order to effect substantial change across the country.

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