Missing People of Color Don't Make Headlines: What 2 Moms Are Doing About It

Justice Page, Missing Since: Feb 18, 2013
Justice Page, Missing Since: Feb. 18, 2013
When you think of famous missing persons cases in America, what pops into your mind? If you’re like me, probably Natalee Holloway, Caylee Anthony, Laci Peterson, or Jaycee Dugard -- four people whose terrible stories all have different endings, but who share one thing in common: the color of their skin. But have you ever heard of Tamika Huston, a 24-year-old African American woman who disappeared from her apartment in 2004, or 14-year-old Justice Page (pictured here), missing from her home in Silver Spring, Maryland since mid-February of this year?

Probably not -- and that’s exactly what motivated Derrica and Natalie Wilson, two moms and sisters-in-law, to start the Black and Missing Foundation, a non-profit geared toward helping minority families find their missing loved ones.

The story on the inspiration behind the Wilson sisters' mission left me both frustrated and inspired -- what an eye-opening read! Derrica Wilson, who’s from the same town in South Carolina as Huston, was devastated to see how difficult it was for Huston’s family to get the media’s attention over their missing girl. "It was painful watching them struggle for any kind of media coverage -- local or national," Wilson said. "This could have been one of my family members." Heartbreaking.

A year later, Natalee Holloway disappeared in Aruba, and you know the story -- we’re STILL talking about it. So, Wilson, a longtime cop who currently works as an investigator for a D.C. agency, teamed up with her sister-in-law Natalie Wilson, a PR expert, to launch the non-profit that has so far helped locate more than 113 missing people -- 71 of them alive.

How incredible is that? These are just two "regular" women, both of whom have their own families and full-time jobs. They donate their time, energy, and own money to making a difference in the world, helping to right a terrible injustice, and reuniting missing people with their families, or -- sadly but importantly, helping them find closure and answers. In a recent interview with Ebony.com, Derrica says that she and Natalie are "mothers first," and that she is often haunted by the stories they come into contact with, especially the missing children. 

Currently, Black and Missing Foundation has 2,000 open cases they’re working on. A drop in the bucket, but what a powerful drop. According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the Department of Justice, 2,000 children are reported missing in America EVERY SINGLE DAY. And the Wilson sisters’ foundation reports that of the 661,593 people reported missing last year, about 40 percent of those were minorities.

That’s a horrifying number of people, amounting to a whole lot of scared, heartbroken family members. Of course, every missing persons case can’t make headline news (unfortunately). But there’s something really wrong when the ONLY ones who do make the news are white.

I can’t even imagine the horror of my child going missing, or my sister, or anyone I love -- but how much more awful it would be if no one would pay attention to my plight, or help me, because my loss wasn't perceived to be as newsworthy. These women are my heroes.

Can you think of any high profile cases of missing minorities? Why do you think these cases get so little attention?

 

Image via Black and Missing Foundation

in the news, media, missing person

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ms_da... ms_danielle_j

it really about time someone did something about this. A tragedy is a tragedy no matter the color of the skin. A family needs closure no matter what. The only case that comes to mind where it was national news is the Treyvon Martin case but there are so many african american children and parents that go missing or are murdered and their stories never make it past local news.

bills... billsfan1104

As much as I hate the race card being played, in this case I totally agree. I feel for these families, who don't get the coverage that the Natalie Holloways get. God bless these families and I hope they get the closure soon

LostS... LostSoul88

Its so true! My cousin went missing and the police and news station refused to cover it and she is half hispanic.  A month prior a white hirl went missing and her face was all over the news and tons of search parties. 

eem8605 eem8605

I agree with this 100%. What really upsets me is when a child, someone's baby is missing, and they wait to do anything or don't do anything. Time is essential. These babies are either found dead or never found. It breaks my heart. People are people and a life is a life. These are someones family members and they have people out there missing, caring, loving, and worried sick about them. 

mrsjonzy mrsjonzy

I'm pretty sure the fact that minority missing persons aren't on the news has nothing to do with color of their skin and everything to do with who you know and how you go about presenting your story. Most importantly their moms. White people are the "minority" now in case you hadn't realized or at least the equal in terms of numbers. In 10 years they will be the minority. Stupid filler story, not everyone can be front and center on the news and not everything is about race. 

nonmember avatar Katie

So Sick of these foundations and organizations that are so Racist! Why don't you people all go live on an island somewhere so that its all about you all the time. No other races allowed! Since thats what you are all preaching all the time!

wamom223 wamom223

I agree with Billsfan. I think discrimination is blamed to often but why don't we hear more of these stories? My son is half white and half black and I can't help but wonder what would happen if it was him. I can't say I'm a 100% positive he would be treated like every other missing child. Not every white child that goes missing makes the news but its sad that we hardly ever hear about the children of color. I love that this women didn't sit around complaining but did something about it.  It doesn't say anything on their website about only taking minority children but I will admit I would like the foundation better if it was for all families of the missing that aren't receiving help from the media.

TheTr... TheTruthTeller

jonzy, it is racial. The people who are reported on are chosen to scare the crap out of a certain demographic so they can look at the television screen and go, "That could be my child!" Sadly, producers assume that minorities can't be bothered to watch the news. It reminds me a story about a woman who was trying to get a children's book published with black characters. Before her eventual success, she got more then one rejection letter, flat out telling her, "Black people don't buy books. Black people aren't readers." The press isn't concerned about finding missing people, they are concerned with getting people glued to their screens.

TheTr... TheTruthTeller

Katie, why don't you move to an island?

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