According to the New York Times, as of Mar. 25, 2017, there are 18 open cases of missing young people, all minorities, in Washington D.C., half of which are girls. As such, the D.C. police department’s Twitter page has exploded with tweets regarding the missing youngsters. Majority of these missing young people are minorities, and alarmingly, more than 750 people have gone missing since the beginning of 2017. It has been reported by U.S. Today that 500 of these cases involve juveniles.
Despite the numbers of missing persons, the police department has reported that there has been a decline in missing persons cases, with CNN reporting that 2,242 children were reported missing here last year, which went down from 2,433 in 2015. However, there is no solace in the D.C. community, since they believe that majority of the black and Latino population which go missing people are unreported.
Based on information obtained from newsY.com, D.C. Police Youth and Family Services Commander, Chanel Dickerson, claimed that a majority of children who are reported as missing have been found but are revealed to only be running away from home the escape due to difficult situations. And CNN reports that Dickerson claims that 99 percent of children found fit this profile.
“There are issues that need to be explored. We need to get to the bottom of why these young people feel that there is no other alternative but to leave home,” said Dickerson, according to NewsY. “When they leave home, there’s a danger; they can be victimized…and my biggest concern is that they’re not going to school.”
The National Center for Missing or Exploited Children reports that in 2016, 90 percent of missing children were endangered runaways. The other 10 percent includes family abductions, lost or injured children, or children who are critically missing- meaning they are in a higher risk of danger because of a mental or physical condition.
In the midst of the frenzy about the missing minorities, members of the Congressional Black Caucus requested that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Federal Bureau of Investigation director, James Comey to look closer into the missing young people. In fact, CNN reported in a letter on Mar. 21, these lawmakers requested from Sessions and 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.”
There seems to be a problem nationally, with missing minorities, as “about 35 percent of missing children are black, and roughly 20 percent are Latino, said Robert Lowery, vice president for the missing children division of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children,” according to The New York Times.
When asked about her thoughts on the recent cases of missing girls in Washington D.C., Celine-Deon Palmer, a freshman, majoring in Political Science and Economic stated that: “I saw a recent post about this on social media and I was most definitely alarmed. This really is sad, and I am left quite disheartened whenever I think about this. Hopefully something is being done to bring these girls home. I cannot imagine what their families must be going through.”
Also, many news sites, including The New York Times, reported that there was a vigil outside of the African American Civil War memorial with dozens of people gathered to pray and mourn those that are missing, with the vigil being referred to as Protect Black Kids candlelight vigil.
I honestly feel so helpless when I think about this, but I hope these girls are found and brought home. I also hope that their families, friends, and loved ones have not given up or lost hope,” said Romario Williams, a freshman, majoring in Computer Science. “It is so scary to think that these things are happening within our society.”