February 29, 2012
Did you know that roughly 2,000 children go missing everyday in our country?
If you didn’t know don’t feel bad, neither did I until I watched an episode of ABC’s “The View” on Monday.
One of their segments focused on the safe return of Mishell Green to her family after she had been missing for the past six months. The previous Friday, “The View” did their initial story on Mishell with her family and Derrica Wilson the CEO of the Black and Missing Foundation.
The story of the family’s anguish resonated beyond color lines. A missing child, no matter what the circumstances, is a nightmare few families want to experience.
Luckily within minutes after the story aired, an anonymous tipster gave the location of Mishell’s whereabouts and she was safely reunited with her family.
Unfortunately, that ending is the exception rather than the rule in households with missing children of color.
It is the perception of many people of color that when their children are missing, law enforcement and the media aren’t interested in their cases; that missing white children receive far more press and law enforcement resources.
In order to address this issue the Black and Missing Foundation was founded in 2008. According to FBI statistics featured on their website, missing minorities made up 40% of the overall total of reported missing persons in 2011.
The Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported drastically higher numbers citing 65% of missing children are either African American or Hispanic.
That is truly frightening.
The litany of ills that face African Americans in this country are long. Frankly speaking, some of those ills are self inflicted.
Nonetheless, the safety of children is an issue of paramount importance to everyone.
So I’m sure you can imagine the anguish of knowing that you have a missing child who isn’t getting the same amount of attention with Amber Alerts and media awareness.
These past 28 days has been an annual celebration and remembrance of the contributions of African Americans to our country. Let’s take this extra day to recognize a silent scourge that is further plaguing our community and needs to be rightfully exposed.
Black history means nothing if we can’t pass along it’s meaningful message to our children. And we can’t pass the message along to our children if they’re simply not here.
Thank you Ms. Goldberg who brought the story to national attention on “The View.”
Thank you Derrica & Natalie Wilson for founding and promoting such an important issue. Clearly we have to look out for our own as it seems no one else will.
Lastly, a thank you to the family of Mishell Green for sharing your story and giving so many people hope in a very critical and challenging time.
Photo credit: ChicagoNow