By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, [email protected]
Despite his continued decision to shutdown the government, as one of his last duties of 2018, Donald Trump signed the legislation for the Ashanti Alert Act, an emergency system to notify officials and the public about a missing person ages 18-64. The legislation is named after Prince George’s County native Ashanti Billie, who at 19 years old, went missing from a Hampton Roads, VA. naval base, and was found dead 11 days later in North Carolina.
According to previous AFRO reports on the legislation, as it went through the Senate and Congress, Billie’s parents felt an alert system could have prevented the tragic ending to their daughter’s life. She was too old for the Amber Alert System, which notifies about missing children under the age of 18, and too young for the Silver Alert System, which reports missing seniors 65 and older.
With the new alert, Ashanti’s story does not end on Sept. 29, when her decomposing body was found. The 19-year-old’s legacy continues.
“I am eternally grateful for her life—a life well lived—because through the Ashanti Alert Act lives will be saved,” said Meltony Billie, father of Ashanti Billie, when the legislation passed through Congress.
Now that Trump has signed the legislation, the Ashanti Alert Act is now official.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA.), who has been a staunch advocate for the passing of the alert system weighed in on the importance of the president signing the Ashanti Alert Act.
“Despite the tragic loss of Ashanti Billie, with the love and support of Meltony and Brandy Billie (her parents), along with the Hampton Roads community, the Ashanti Alert Act is now law of the land,” Warner said in a statement.
“In this new year, it is my hope that this important law enforcement tool can help save countless lives.”
Congressman Scott Taylor (R-VA.), who championed the passing of the legislation through the House, thanked the president for signing the Ashanti Alert Act.
“Thank you [President Trump] for signing [the Ashanti Alert Act] law on this [New Year’s Eve],” he tweeted. “Out of this dark tragedy, light & hope will come for families across country in 2019.”