As continued concern builds around disappearing teens of color in the U.S. capitol, lawmakers are seeking high authority to bring aid in finding the missing children.
Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond, and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton sent a call to action letter this week calling on 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,” according to The Associated Press.
Amongst those missing in D.C. is Yahshaiyah Enoch and Aniya McNeil, both 13; Juliana Otero, Jacqueline Lassey, Dashann Trikia Wallace, Dayana White and Morgan Richardson, all 15; and Talisha Coles, 16.
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According to The National Crime Information Center, there are approximately 170,899 missing Black children under 18 in the United States, more than any other category except for the white/Hispanic combined number of 264,443.
As Fox News writes, both numbers increased from the year before, which saw 169,655 missing Black children and 262,177 missing white/Hispanic children.
“Ten children of color went missing in our nation’s capital in a period of two weeks and at first garnered very little media attention. That’s deeply disturbing,” the letter stated.
Earlier this week, pastors, activists and parents met in Washington, D.C. to discuss the disappearances.
Dr. Vanetta Rather, founder of support group My Sister My Seed, said, “when girls of color are missing they are deemed as runaways and sometimes that prevents an Amber Alert from being sent out.”
“It appears that when it’s girls of color there’s not this urgency,” Rather continued.
D.C. Police Youth and Family Services Commander, Chanel Dickerson said, “it is a critical issue, however, the teens have not just vanished.”
“I’m not trying to minimize that other people aren’t missing, but they looked like me and so I just wanted to make sure that every investigation focused on every child same way and we get the same exposure to everyone regardless of your race or where you live,” Dickerson said.
Mary G. Leary, a law professor and co-author of “Perspectives on Missing Persons, told reporters that social media postings can be very helpful and could bring the missing home faster.
While the Washington D.C. district police department has been tweeting updates about the missing teens along with concerned citizens and activists, there is a new Twitter handle dedicated to specifically publicizing those missing.
“We’ve come a long way from putting up a poster in the local store… our people are not just falling off the face of this earth and we need to do something about it,” Leary said.