YAKIMA, WA - During Tuesday's city council meeting Yakima declared May as Missing Persons Awareness Month.
"Every missing person is someone's child, they could be someone's brother or sister, husband or wife, father or mother," said council member Brad Hill as he read the proclamation.
One Yakima mother, Michelle Joe whose son has been missing was a huge advocate for this. Mayor Kathy Coffey heard her plea and agrees.
"Awareness, I mean that's really what it comes down to. isn't it? I mean awareness for the parents, awareness for the young women. I mean we have to be able to get the word out and have the voice come alive," said Coffey.
The issue of missing people in Yakima and its surrounding areas is not new. Washington State Patrol has been trying to address the matter of missing indigenous women in the state and recently Senator Maria Cantwell has as well.
"We are experiencing this crisis and it is time that this report be a wake up call to action. We can no longer ignore these huge numbers, but we need to find answers," said Cantwell.
Cantwell is urging Congress to pass Savanna's Act.
"Savanna’s Act will streamline the protocols and process between our Tribes and law enforcement agencies, which means swifter action and at a more rapid pace,” said Cantwell.
Senator Cantwell referenced a report which stated Seattle has the highest number of missing and murdered indigenous women and during Tuesday's council meeting the proclamation stated 21 people are missing in Yakima.