Black Lawmakers And Community Take Action On The Influx Of Missing Teens In DC
March 24, 2017 at 4:02 pm
Earlier this month we shared how a great deal of black and brown girls have gone missing in popular cities throughout the country. New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. have all reported over the past few years of girls between the ages of 13-18 missing. The infuriating part is that major media publications haven't begun to cover any of these stories but they have round the clock coverage on the tragic real-life "Beauty and the Beast" story about 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas being '"abducted" by her 50-year-old teacher.
That's neither here nor there.
Now many girls have continued to go missing, as well as young black boys.
Black members of Congress have decided it's time to take matters into their own hands and have called for the Justice Department to help police investigate the larger number of missing children in Washington, D.C. According to the Washington Post, the District of Columbia logged 501 cases of missing juveniles in the first three months of this year. 22 were unsolved as of March 22. Congressional Black Caucus chairman Cedric Richmond, D-La. and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey to “devote the resources necessary to determine whether these developments are an anomaly or whether they are indicative of an underlying trend that must be addressed.” No meeting has been scheduled but President Trump assured he would make his Cabinet secretaries available.
D.C. police officials said there has been no increase in the numbers of missing persons in their jurisdiction. "We've just been posting them on social media more often," Metropolitan Police spokeswoman Rachel Reid told the Post. However, the increased social media attention has caused a concern in the area especially among the black community whose kids seem to be the main target.
On Wednesday night, a town hall meeting was held by Councilmember Trayon White at Excel Academy Public Charter School in Southeast D.C. Hundreds of people showed out to the point that people couldn't fit through the door.
Photo: Van Applegate
Emotions were high due to the lack of answers about kids, mainly teenage girls, missing. Acting Police Chief Peter Newsham told Fox 5, "the difficult thing is some of these kids do go missing multiple times." Newsham explained to the room that there is a real a problem with runaways in the city. These girls are either running away from something or towards something. “When they go missing, guess what? You have a child out there and there are people in our community that will prey on those children.”
D.C. police's website shared the statistics of missing juveniles in the area, showing that the numbers have indeed decreased over the years.
2017: 501 (as of March 22)
While the numbers are going down this is an epidemic in this country that needs to be handled better. “One child missing is one too many,” said Derrica Wilson, president of the Black and Missing Foundation. “It is not so much about the numbers. It is about the ones that are missing, what we can do to get them safe.”
You can visit Black & Missing Foundation, which gives more visibility for black people reported missing in the U.S. If you have any information that could make a difference, call your local police department and help bring our girls home.