July 18, 2024

Why Is No One Talking About the Black, Latina Teens Missing from D.C.?

At least 10 Black and Latina youths have been reported missing in the Washington, D.C. area in the past two weeks. Images courtesy of Twitter user @BlackMarvelGirl.

A series of viral tweets putting a spotlight on the 10 Black and Latina girls gone missing from the Washington, D.C., area in just two weeks has sparked major concern among social media users.

The mainstream media, however, has been deafeningly silent regarding the disappearances.

On Sunday, March 12, Twitter user and Essence Magazine contributor @BlackMarvelGirl tweeted a number of photos and information regarding eight African-American teens who were reported missing just in the past week. Her alarming posts have already been retweeted over 94,000 times in the past few days.


African-American news site The Root recently highlighted the fact that D.C.’s slew of missing Black and Latina teens has gone largely unnoticed by the mainstream news media, besides a few local TV reports and tweets from the the Washington, D.C., police department. The faces of these nonwhite missing persons, many of whom are under the age of 18, have remained virtually absent from major news reports, highlighting the media’s tendency to devote air time to missing persons only when the victims are white, aka the “missing white woman syndrome.”

“The media tends to classify [Black] missing individuals as runaways or law enforcement does,” Natallie Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, told News One’s Roland Martin in a 2014 interview. “So then, there isn’t any media coverage [and] there isn’t an AMBER Alert for the missing individual.”

Wilson went on to point out that people go missing for a number of reasons, including sex trafficking and abuse.

Currently, 16-year-old Talisha Coles, 13-year-old Yahshaiyah Enoch, 15-year-old Jacqueline Lassey, 13-year-old Aniya McNeil, 15-year-old Juliana Otero, 15-year-old Morgan Richardson, 15-year-old Dashann Trikia Wallace and 15-year-old Dayanna White all remain missing. Fifteen-year-old Antwan Jordan and Kha-Ronn Jormond, who were both previously reported missing, have since been located, according to the D.C. police department’s Twitter account.

A 2014 report by the FBI revealed that of the 635,155 people reported missing in the United States, nearly 240,000 of them (37 percent) were nonwhite, many of whom have never been found. An estimated 64,000 of those individuals were African-American women, according to statistics from the Black and Missing Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “bringing awareness to missing persons of color.” About 37 percent of all missing Black Americans are 17 or younger.

“As we have seen from examples here over and over again, if we don’t take the power into our own hands, we cannot rely on the media or law enforcement to do it,” Wilson reiterated.

If you have information about any of the missing teens listed above, please contact the Washington, D.C., Police Department at 202-727-9099.

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