They Don’t Really Care About Us
Michael Jackson sang it. Kanye West said it after the levees broke. Please explain at what point we should be concerned about a missing loved one — an hour? A Day? People are filing reports for their children, because they are concerned when they don’t come home — we should expect that. And when they are found, we should know that, too. We remember Relisha Rudd went missing in DC without much fanfare — until people spoke up. Was the lack of concern connected to her color or economic condition — or both? Her disappearance didn’t hit the national news circuit until people spoke up loudly — then her likely abductor was found dead. Too late.
Tragedies, like what happened to Relisha Rudd — and too many other Black babies (and adults) — receive limited attention, if ANY at all. Time matters in missing person situations, but, Black lives don’t matter unless they look like UK’s Madeline McCann or Colorado’s JonBenet Ramsey. The world prayed for Belgium and Paris, complete with hashtags and headlines. Assaults against white bodies garner that type of attention. However, when civilians are attacked on the African continent or in Muslim or immigrants die or mass graves are found in Latin American, where is our global mourning? It took First Lady Michelle Obama’s simple meme to draw greater attention to the kidnapping of 276 school girls by Boko Haram.
When will our lives really matter here?
No, really, when? Timothy Caughman was murdered by a white male, on the streets of NYC, who took a bus from Baltimore, with an agenda to kill Black men. A man kills in London and we are hearing about it daily in the U.S. Yes, it was horrible that a British-born person killed in his country. It’s just as, if not more disturbing that someone left his town to traverse hundreds of miles with a specific intent to kill any Black man. Both tragic, but one plays to the fear of the foreign, while this type of terrorism continues here without any action or statement from the White House. Is the lack of concern for Mr. Caughman connected to his color or economic condition — or both? Is this the first time that this man (a veteran) killed a Black man? Is he a “lone wolf” or part of a larger, nefarious network of “lone wolves” who are committed to killing Black people, “radicalized” by Richard Spencer and inspired by Dylan Roof? The language of terrorism doesn’t seem to transcend when the assault is against Black Lives, does it? The killing and terror brough upon the lives of the growing list of Black lives taken by those who are supppsted to protect and serve cannot be ignored either.
Black and Missing, Inc. was created to bring attention to our missing. It helps to remind us — and to underscore — that missing #BlackLivesMatter too. We won’t be forgotten. People go missing for myriad reasons and some don’t return home. A runaway could easily become human trafficking. Human trafficking is a real dilemma — yes, in America. Thankfully, though, many organizations, and some TV programs, are bringing it to light. Like American Crime & the storyline on immigrant exploitation and sex trafficking abuses, thus, elevating these issues to prime-time depictions that we cannot ignore.
Public bathrooms in California post placards that detail the bill regarding human trafficking. The state, and organizations like the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, are responding to these dangers with legislation and powerful awareness campaigns.
Yes, some of the Black and missing in DC, and elsewhere, are found safe or return home on their own, but what about those who are not — or who meet a tragic end? A DC officer was recently charged with allegedly running a prostitution ring, so we know this can happen — even here. We can’t afford to forget the consequences of waiting to do something after some arbitrary number causes concern and brings media attention. Remember that the Atlanta Child Murders, Jeffrey Dahmer’s heinous acts or the more recent, decades long L.A. Grim Sleeper killings all began with a first victim. Untold more stories remain unsolved.
When Black and brown children go missing, will they get years of media coverage, like JonBenet or Madeleine? Not likely. Will they be on America’s conscious at all? (doubt it, unless they are connected to celebrity) When will Black lives become worthy of compassion beyond our own hearts? And, if they are run-always, shouldn’t we want to find out what they’re running from or to?
The constant pressure from the #BlackLivesMatter network generated the attention that led to AG Loretta Lynch & DOJ holding investigations and, ultimately, based upon long known facts on criminal abuses by those who are supposed to protect and serve, hand down consent decrees with police departments in Ferguson, Baltimore & Chicago. Why should that progress end when a new leader of DOJ takes the lead? Is justice term-limited? Does Attorney General Sessions — and the President who appointed him — get a pass on fighting for justice for all people, including Black people, because they aren’t Black?
When we see something we must say something before it is too late or before it happens to someone we know and love. call the national resource center for tools 1-888-373-7888