Do minority children only go missing if they are criminals or runaways?

AMBER Alerts have a proven success record due to the national media coverage that these alerts provide. Unfortunate as the conversation is to have, it is necessary to notate that this exposure is not available for every missing child. According to the AMBER Alert statistics from 2006-2017 of all reported children with alerts 44-47% were white children, black children ranging from 19-30% and hispanic children ranging from 14-19%. The disparities in which missing children receive the much needed media coverage and national attention is what led a police officer (Derrica) and a media relations specialist (Natalie) to found The Black & Missing Foundation. Natalie and Derrica saw first-hand the lack of media attention a young woman who went missing from their hometown received during the first hours of her missing report. Her family struggled to get media coverage for her disappearance and it failed to get national attention. Around the same time, another young woman named also disappeared and she was on all the media outlets. Seeing firsthand how the family of the missing black woman in their hometown suffered, it led the women to a deeper conversation. They reflected on how law enforcement labels missing persons reports for minorities and researched the lack of resources available to minority families. Rather than demand that someone do something to support the families of minority children, they decided to become that resource. Check out our interview with Natalie as we discussed why what their foundation does is so important:

  1. Are there disparities between the ratio of unsolved white vs black missing persons? The facts that we have seen, are that when a child of color is reported missing many times they are classified as a runaway. If they are classified as a runaway they do not receive Amber alerts or media coverage. When a minority adult is demeaned missing, it is presumed that they are involved in criminal activity so resources aren’t expended in searching for that individual.  

  2. Do black men disappear too or is it more so girls, young women, etc.? When the organization first started, there were more missing black men than black women. When you think of sex trafficking you think young girls but young men are also taken. We see more stories of pedophiles trying to lure young men as well so be safe. Sex trafficking is an equal opportunity business and they do not make reservations based off sex.

  3. What case has impacted you the most and why? All cases with children always hurt me because I’m a mother. However, there was a young girl in LA that went missing a few years ago. Her god mother reported it. It turned out that her father’s girlfriend took her on the pre-tense of taking her shopping. However, the girlfriend had a dispute with her father and had no intentions of taking the daughter shopping. The girlfriend ended up stabbing her 40+ times and left her body in a field. 

  4. Why do you think there is such a hesitation for the community to come forward with information about a missing person? In the minority community, we have this “no snitching” dilemma we need to get over. It could be your child that goes missing and sex trafficking is happening in our back yard. We need to have these conversations in our schools, churches, and homes. There is also a sense of distrust with law enforcement and the minority community. We understand both issues so our website has an anonymous tip line. 

  5.  What advice would you give to parents who may want to shelter their children from the “ugly” truths?  As a parent, you try to shield your children from the horror of the World. However, it can sometimes be a disadvantage because they need to know what can happen. Many times, when children are being abducted they don’t scream. Educate them, have those uncomfortable conversations. When they leave your home, there are a lot of influences.

  6.  Are there any preventive measures parents can take to minimize their children’s risk? We utilize social media to help bring awareness to our missing. The pedophiles also use it to lure our children. My advice, BE NOSEY. Know what your child is doing on social media. A tip we give to parents, create a fictitious account, try to befriend your child and see what information they share with you. Many times, when a child gets comfortable you’ll be surprised how much they tell. 

  7.  What’s the first steps a person should take if they fear a loved one is missing?Report it to law enforcement and use social media, don’t wait for the news. Many times, we are asked for a profile picture. Keep up to date photos of your loved ones so that they are available. Most kids go missing in the spring and summer. They are out of school, latchkey kids, parents are often at work. Again, educate them on how to stay safe. If you are attending a big event, take a picture of your child before they go out the door so you have their picture and outfit. 

Below are 3 young children who are currently missing. Any information will help and can be sent to The Black & Missing Foundation anonymously via their submission (CLICK HERE):

relisha rudd missing
myra lewis missing
hassani campbell missing

Hassani Campbell: http://www.blackandmissinginc.com/cdad/index.cfm?MissingInfoID=933

To stay up to date on missing persons and/or support the foundation you can follow them on IG @blackandmissingfdn and subscribe to their website: http://www.blackandmissinginc.com