I get it. We have a crooked president who needs to be taken down, but that doesn’t mean we get to ignore the rest of the news. And this is definitely something that should be getting more attention. Over a dozen DC teenagers, ranging in age from 14 to 18—all Black or Hispanic—have all gone missing since the beginning of the year. DC residents are understandably outraged that not enough is being done to help find them.
In fact, it seems like authorities are downplaying the situation.
Acting Police Chief Peter Newsham told the television station that “the year-over-year number of missing persons, including juveniles, has held steady, and that there is no known link in D.C. now between missing people and human trafficking.”
The mayor, Muriel Bowser, concurred. At the press conference March 16, she said, “The number of missing person reports has remained constant…what has changed is getting that information out quickly. There is no evidence to suggest there has been an increase in missing persons.”
Chanel Dickerson, commander of the division in charge of investigating the missing teens, said in the press conference: “Let me first reassure you. We have no indication to believe that young girls in the district are being preyed upon by human traffickers in large numbers.”
Dickerson said that, out of 708 missing persons reports in 2017, only 34 remain open. “We have no reason to believe the 34 missing cases are related,” she said, and all don’t involve juveniles. (via Heavy)
The Daily News has a sadly all-too-obvious reason why these stories aren’t making national headlines:
The stories of young black girls and women who are missing don’t get the Elizabeth Smart or Natalee Holloway treatment. We don’t see primetime television specials on them. Their images don’t become permanent fixtures on Twitter. Their names don’t get hashtags or trending topics. Nationwide manhunts or search parties don’t ensue. Crying black parents, pleading for their children to be found, don’t interrupt our sitcoms as breaking news.
It appears that having blonde hair and blue eyes, and having white parents in suburban America, makes it far more likely that a story of a missing young girl will be told.
Among the missing:
Shaniah Boyd, was last seen in the 4000 block of 6th Street, Southeast, on March 18, 2017, police said in a missing person’s alert. She was described as a black female with a medium complex, 5 foot 4 inches tall, 140 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. Her clothing description was unknown.
Anjel Burl was last seen in the 200 block of 43rd Road, Northeast, on March 22, 2017, police said in her missing person alert. She was described as a black female, light-complexioned, 5 foot tall, 90 pounds with brown eyes and red hair. She was last seen wearing a light blue polo style shirt, tan stretch pants, a yellow and pink north face jacket, a yellow knit hat and black and white Jordan sneakers.
Shani Burriss, 17, who was last seen in the 2600 block of Stanton Road, Southeast, on March 21, 2017. Shani is described as a black male, with a medium-complexion, 5’6” tall, 130 pounds, brown eyes and black hair. Shani was last seen wearing a black shirt, blue jeans, a grey and burgundy jacket and white shoes.
Rayquon Blakeney, 19, who was last seen on Friday, March 17, 2017, in the 1400 of Howard Road, Southeast. He was reported missing on March 20, 2017. Blakeney is described as a black male, with a medium brown complexion, 5’ in height, 125 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a gray hoodie, a black jacket, and blue jeans.
Jaylen Lee, 14, who was last seen Saturday, March 18, 2017, in the 1000 Block of Maryland Avenue, Northeast. Lee is described as a black male, medium brown complexioned, 5’7” in height, 140 pounds, with brown eyes, and black hair. He was last seen wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, a black hooded sweatshirt and black shoes.
Makel Barnes, 15, who was last seen in the Unit Block of Galveston Street, Southwest, on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.Barnes is described as a black male, dark-complexioned, 5’10” in height, 200 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a white shirt, a burgundy jacket with a grey hood, dark blue jeans and black sneakers.
Dashann Wallace, 15, who was last seen in the 200 block of I Street, SE, on Monday, March 8, 2017. Dashann is described as a black female, 5’1” tall, 140 pounds, medium complexioned, with hair black in color and brown eyes. Her clothing description is unknown .
Zyaire Flemmings, 15, who was last seen between, Thursday, February 23, 2017, at 2 pm and Friday, February 24, 2017, at 1:32pm, in the 4200 block of 4th Street, SE. Flemmings is described as a black male, medium complexion, 5’9” in height, 160 pounds, brown eyes, and black hair. He was last seen wearing a blue/white jacket, blue jeans and grey New Balance sneakers.
Navaras Lorenzo Johnson, 14, who was last seen in the Unit Block of Galveston Street, SW, on Monday, February 27, 2017. The incident was report on March 1, 2017. Navaras is described as a black male, light complexion, 5’6” in height, 175 pounds, with brown eyes, and black hair. He was last seen wearing a white shirt, a black jacket, blue jeans, and black sneakers.
Vaneisha Weaver, 18, who was last seen in the 1400 Block of Columbia Road, NW, on Thursday, February 16, 2017. She was reported missing on February 21, 2017. Weaver is described as a black female, medium-complexioned, 5’7” tall, 180 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a red jacket and blue jean pants.
Demetria Carthens, 17, who was last seen on Tuesday February 7, 2017, in the 200 block of I Street, Southeast. Carthens, is described as a black female, medium complexioned, 5’5” in height, 130 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a thin blue coat, black jeans and black boots.
Faith Nelson, 16, who was last seen on Friday January 13, 2017, Faith left her residence at 7:00 am, in the 3500 block of Minnesota Avenue, SE. Faith Nelson was reported missing on Monday, January 30, 2017. Nelson, is described as a black female, medium complexion, 5’2” in height, 120 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Her clothing description is unknown.
Clayton Carter, 17, who was last seen in the 200 Block of I Street, Southeast, on Saturday, January 11, 2017. Carter is described as a black male, 6’1” tall, 173-175 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair, and a medium complexion. He was last seen wearing unknown clothing.
It takes 3.2 secs to retweet and help find these 8 BLACK GIRLS reported missing in Washington, D.C. during the past three days (1/2) pic.twitter.com/xpEwNcW44S
— Black Marvel Girl (@BlackMarvelGirl) March 13, 2017
MAP: Locations Where Missing DC Teens Were Last Seen https://t.co/v3kAfqHRWx
— Sheayona (@thaMrz10_86) March 24, 2017
Be aware. Be alert. Retweet their pictures and stories.