Maryland Emmett Till Alert system warns of child care threats


Black leaders warn of racist internet chatter suggesting white supremacists may target daycare centers.

WASHINGTON — Maryland’s first-in-the-nation racist alert system has just issued its first alert, warning of a potential threat to Black daycare centers.

The FBI tells WUSA9 it’s taking the threat seriously, but that it is not seeing an increased risk to childcare centers.

The Emmett Till Alert went out this week to scores of Black leaders, warning of a severe risk of coordinated violent attacks on Black daycare centers across the US, and urging stepped-up security.

Carl Snow, a longtime civil rights activist from the Caucus of African American Leaders said retired military and police intelligence experts have been monitoring the dark web and seeing people talking about attacking childcare centers. 

“The chatter was specifically around how can we, meaning white supremacists, start a race war,” said Snowden.

After the racist 2015 massacre at a church in Charleston and this year’s murder of ten Black shoppers in Buffalo, civil rights leaders warn supremacists are looking for the next soft target.

“Racists who kill people praying, will kill children playing,” said Snowden.

Kimberly Howell, an FBI spokesperson in Baltimore, says the agency “takes all potential threats seriously.” She is urging people to “report anything suspicious” but also says it’s “not seeing” evidence of “the threats” the Emmett Till Alert system is reporting.

The Emmett Till Alert is named after the 14-year-old Black child who was abducted, tortured and lynched in Mississippi in 1955.

“We want to make sure we are proactive and not reactive, waiting for an incident to happen,” said Barbara Palmer, owner of Kingdom Kare Child Care Center in Odenton, Md. 

“We are not here in panic mode. We are here as a sign of strength,” said Abraham Shanklin, Jr. of New Life Child Care. 

Snowden is recommending that childcare centers install video doorbells and surveillance cameras. He said the Anne Arundel County Police Department is offering security analysis to childcare centers. “And one other thing, just pay attention, be more observant,” he said.

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