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Cabinet Advocates for Office of Missing & Murdered Black Women and Girls

The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota invests policy as a lever to change systems for gender and racial justice. WFMN’s 2022 legislative agenda is advancing public policy in partnership with young women and grantee-partner organizations to increase safety, economic opportunity, and holistic well-being for women, girls, gender-expansive people, and their families. Leaning into our power to drive systems change, we have doubled our investments for policy change. Our policy agenda is in full swing at the Capitol as WFMN CEO & President, Gloria Perez, and Young Women’s Cabinet members have been building relationships and testifying to advance policies that should be basic rights for all.

Policy change is central to transforming our inequitable systems, and so in addition to grantmaking and funding research, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota drives a policy agenda each year that centers women, girls, and gender-expansive people, including Black, Indigenous, and women of color, LGBTQ+ people, women and girls from Greater Minnesota, and women and girls with disabilities in the fight for safety, economic justice, and holistic well-being. For the second year, advocacy for issues central to safety and economic justice is happening entirely virtually and in partnership with a powerful cross-sector leadership of elected officials, grantee-partners, young women, and testifiers who have directly experienced the systemic issues we need to change so all women and girls thrive.

On March 3, 2022, Young Women’s Cabinet Member Aaisha Abdullahi testified in front of the House Public Safety Committee to express her support for creating a new Office of Missing & Murdered Black Women & Girls, similar to but distinct from the Office on Missing & Murdered Indigenous Relatives.

This bill would establish an office dedicated to understanding the root causes of this nationwide epidemic and providing recommendations to lawmakers about how to address and prevent the disappearance and murder of Black women and girls across Minnesota. Authored by Rep. Ruth Richardson, this bill would build upon the work begun by the Task Force on Missing & Murdered African American Women and ensure that the effort received the necessary resources and capacity to carry out this critical work.

A young Black woman wearing a mauve headscarf and blue top smiles in front of green leaves.
Aaisha Abdullahi, Young Women’s Cabinet policy team

Aaisha’s testimony highlighted the devastating statistics on Black women and girls who have gone missing or been killed across the country. “Despite the lack of attention in the news media, approximately 100,000 Black girls and women went missing in the United States last year,” she said. “Some have been trafficked, while others have been abducted by close friends or strangers. Yet very few of these cases receive attention from mainstream media.”

Aaisha, a Duke University graduate student, called for lawmakers to support and protect our state’s Black communities by taking urgent action to support this bill.

“The invisibility of missing Black girls and women reveals how they have been denied citizenship — and, as a result, they are unprotected, punished, or unnoticed. Black women deserve more. Black families deserve more. Representative Richardson’s bill is the first step Minnesota can take toward addressing the inequalities present in our public safety system. We must ensure the protection of Black women as a priority, and that can only be accomplished with your support.”

Aaisha Abdullahi, Young Women’s Cabinet

To support the creation of the Office of Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls, contact your legislators by phone or via email and let them know that you support HF2849 because the Black women, girls, and families in our community deserve to live safe, prosperous lives.

To find out who your elected representatives are, use this tool.

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