I’d like to think that we are so neighborly that when we see a child going left, we can step in to guide them to go right. However, our reality says it’s just another social problem when the injustice doesn’t poke its head into our neighborhood. It is just another death on the news when it isn’t our family. It’s just another missing girl when it’s not our child. The latter is the most disturbing because if children are our future then how do we sit by the sidelines as they go missing? How do we turn the other cheek after we said we’d protect them? Or does that only apply to certain demographics?
The fact that I have to even write about this speaks volume. It is concerning! This should be one of our top concerns because recently it has been reported that a string of girls from the Washington, DC metropolitan area have gone missing. Some of their names include Leera Gillispie, 8 and mother, Rayneka Willimson; Relisha Rudd, 8; Yahshaiyah Enoch and Aniya McNeil, both 13; Shaniah Boyd, 14; Juliana Otero, Jacqueline Lassey, Dashann Trikia Wallace, Dayana White, and Morgan Richardson, all 15; Talisha Coles, Faith Nelson, and Anjel Burl, 16; Demetria Carthens, 17; Vaneisha Weaver, 18.
Following these findings, the Congressional Black Caucus called on Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, and the FBI Director, James Comey, to help in the search for these missing black girls. Although the requested meeting to discuss these issues formally has yet to happen, there are those who speak out while they wait. Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Cedric Richmond, was one of the first to share his views stating:
“Ten children of color went missing in our nation’s capital in a period of two weeks and at first garnered very little media attention. That’s deeply disturbing. …Whether these recent disappearances are an anomaly or signals of underlying trends, it is essential that the Department of Justice and the FBI use all of the tools at their disposal to help local officials investigate these events, and return these children to their parents as soon as possible”
“Sometimes when girls of color are missing they are deemed ‘runaways’ and sometimes that prevents an Amber Alert from being sent out. …It appears that when it’s girls of color there’s not this urgency.”
Even various celebrities have taken to social media to show their concern:
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) March 25, 2017
For all who are not aware and for all who care… pic.twitter.com/zXjQhQCfbC
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) March 24, 2017
This is an issue that will need constant conversation and awareness. For this reason alone, as these individuals speak up, it’s imperative that we rally behind them. Likewise, it is imperative that we don’t let the things that matter the least in a missing child case stop us from recovering our children. We must use the same time and resources in every case. In the words of Derrica Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation:
“We can’t focus on the numbers. If we have one missing child, that’s one too many.”