This week, Washington, D.C., made headlines as the city’s Metropolitan Police Department recently began tweeting out missing-person reports — with an alarming number of them for young black women and Latinas.
Though officials have insisted that the numbers reflect only the fact that the department recently started using social media to help close cases, many have voiced concern that the numbers reflect a much larger problem in how commonly people of color go missing, both in the nation’s capital and around the country, as well as over serious gaps in media coverage of these cases as opposed to those about white people.
As a result, many individuals have taken to social media to express their disdain about what they consider a continued oversight of related awareness — including celebrities like Taraji P. Henson, Kris Jenner and Viola Davis.
“We must make some noise !! Why are we just hearing about this . Why is this not the number one topic in America right now?” Beyoncé‘s mother Tina Lawson captioned a Friday photo, which highlights the case of Katherine Hunter as an example (she has been found).
“There are conflicting stories but all of these girls are not runaways!!! Dont fall for that !” continued Lawson, 63. “It is a well known fact that a missing person of color Black , Latin or other. does not get the media coverage [equal] to a missing white person.”
Added Jenner, 61, in her re-post of Lawson’s, “Call to Action for the media to report on these missing women of color!!!! Let’s help find these girls!!! ”
“These are missing CHILDREN. See these faces, see them as your own. You would want the world to care enough to bring these CHILDREN back to their families,” Being Mary Jane star Gabrielle Union, 44, captioned an Instagram video pointing out that over the past month, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department has reported more than two dozen missing Black young women from the ages of 11 to 17.
“Please help! Please post this. Demand equal coverage of ALL missing children from the media,” she added. “Each of our children is loved and cherished and EACH child deserves all of our collective effort to bring them home.”
The Flash‘s Candice Patton, 28, also wrote on Twitter, “If you participated in/advocated for the woman’s march, I encourage you to participate in this. These issues are aligned.”
“It is deeply disturbing that the disappearance of dozens of young girls is ‘business as usual’ in our nation’s capital, my childhood home,” Olivia Wilde wrote on Instagram Saturday. “The response that these numbers aren’t any higher than normal should only make us more horrified.
“Kids of color have been unrecognized and uncared for by law enforcement, the education system (as a whole, not the heroic teachers working hard every day for far too little pay), and government in general, for far too long,” continued the actress, 33. “It’s a deeply rooted issue, ingrained in our sadly flawed social fabric, but it is within our power to CHANGE IT.”
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Hotline: 1-800-The-Lost
If you believe you are the victim of a trafficking situation or may have information about a potential trafficking situation, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888.