Missing Black Teens In DC Ignite Outrage
Current Events –
Missing Black Teens
In DC Ignite Outrage
Missing black teens are disappearing at an alarming rate in the nation’s capital. Is this a crisis that’s simply not getting the attention and coverage it deserves?
At least 14 missing black teens have disappeared in Washington, DC since March 19th, which is a substantial increase for the predominately black city. However, local authorities are downplaying the disappearances, claiming the reporting of missing persons is behind the perceived increase.
“We’ve just been posting them on social media more often,” DC Metro Police Department spokesperson Rachel Reid said. The department also insisted that many of the missing black teens are runaways and have not actually been abducted.
Washington residents displayed their outrage during a community meeting last week with DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and Washington Metro’s new police commander, Chanel Dickerson, pointing out that missing white children are immediately given an amber alert while missing black teens are treated with less importance and are often forgotten.
“What the community is alarmed about — we had a 10-year-old girl missing the other day, but there was no amber alert,” DC City Councilmember Trayon White said. “We just feel like, you know, if this was a white person or from another neighborhood, there would be more alarm about it.”
Saying she did not wish to create undue alarm, Dickerson disagreed with the sentiments of the community.
“We have received a lot of media attention and a lot of concern from the public because of the number of releases,” Dickerson said on Friday. “There have been concerns that young girls in the District of Columbia are victims of human trafficking or have been kidnapped, or that there’s an increase in the number (who have gone missing). And I say this without minimizing the number of missing persons in DC — because one missing person is one person too many — but there’s actually been a decrease,” she added. “There is always a concern of human trafficking, but we have no evidence for this.”
With emotions running high regarding the missing black teens, the Congressional Black Caucus has called for a federal investigation. They’ve even petitioned 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.”
“When children of color go missing, authorities often assume they are runaways rather than victims of abduction,” the caucus said in writing.
“The Attorney General is aware of the reports and is looking into the issue, “Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores said. The FBI declined to comment.
Robert Lowery, Jr., vice-president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said he is at least grateful that all sides have been willing to engage in a conversation as important as missing children.
“I think the narrative is good,” Lowery said. “The more the public becomes aware of this issue of missing children, the more lives that can be protected and potentially even saved.”
Is the DC community correct that the urgency for missing black children is different from missing white children? Has the general public been conditioned to automatically believe that missing black children are runaways while missing white children are abductees? Is a legitimate crisis involving missing black teens brewing in Washington, and if so, who’s responsible for their disappearance?