A new alert system in Maryland will notify Black leaders about racist incidents and hate crimes.
The Emmett Till Alert, named in honor of the 14-year-old Black child tortured and killed in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman, is modeled after the Amber Alert system.
It will act as a warning system, notifying 167 Black state officials, national civil rights organizations, clergy members and other leaders when any credible acts of racism or hate occur in Maryland.
“Not all hate crimes are investigated. Not all hate crimes are reported, for a variety of reasons,” said Carl Snowden of the Caucus of African American Leaders at a news conference on Monday announcing the new system. “What we are going to do is make sure every hate crime that we’re made aware of goes out on this alert system.”
The announcement comes following a slew of racist incidents in the state over the last year. Three Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the state were targets of bomb threats. In July, racist graffiti was found on the church doors of Kingdom Celebration Center in Anne Arundel County.
According to NPR, the new system will have three alert levels: low, medium, and high, with a “high” alert indicating a high likelihood of violence or fatalities.
“The idea here is to have an alert system that allows the entire community to know what is happening,” Snowden said. “If they get an Emmett Till Alert, it’s very serious, and they should take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their family.”
Daryl Jones of the Transformative Justice Coalition told CBS News that the Emmett Till Alert system can serve Black communities nationwide. “This is a model system for all of America,” he said.
The Emmett Till Alert system is privately funded through donations and is expected to cost about $6,000 to run a year.