More than 11,300 abandoned, untested rape kits were found in a Detroit Police Department storage unit in 2009—and now Erykah Badu is helping to finish getting them tested. Around 10,000 of them have been tested so far, and the singer will donate funds from her Aug. 12 concert in Detroit toward getting the rest tested—and their results investigated. Badu's donations are going to the African American 490 Challenge, so named because testing costs $490 per kit, the Detroit Free Press reports. Per the Detroit Metro Times, AA490 (which is a partner of Enough SAID, a Michigan Women's Foundation campaign working to get the kits tested) is still looking to raise $14 million—$657,090 to get the rest of the kits tested, plus $2 million per year for a cold case unit to investigate and prosecute any rape cases that result.
"This is a huge day for Enough SAID/AA490," says Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who has been working to get the kits tested for years. "Everyone knows that Erykah Badu is a major, major talent in the music and song-writing industry. For her to lend her name, talent, and time to this work is nothing short of a miracle. Justice for these forgotten sexual assault victims has been given a phenomenal assist." Worthy has already put together a county prosecution team that will be solely focused on investigating rapes connected to the kits. "It should come as no surprise that an artist with Erykah Badu's impressive history of social consciousness would join forces with the black women leaders of Detroit to address this important social issue," says the president of AA490. Badu's goal is to raise $50,000 from the concert, $5 per ticket purchased plus proceeds from pre- and post-concert receptions. (Read more Erykah Badu stories.)