While scrolling through Instagram, I came across a startling post. In the past 24 hours, 14 young black girls have been kidnapped in Washington DC. Even more astonishingly, it has taken an outcry on social media, not pure human concern, for media outlets to even report on this horrific incident.

When new Metropolitan Police Chief, Chanel Dickerson, was appointed two months ago, he pledged to find all the missing girls in DC. This statement comes at a dire time in our nation’s capital. Since Wednesday, 22 kids have gone missing, adding on to the hefty 501 case so far this year. Needless to say, these missing reports are nothing new.

What is almost more concerning than the sheer number of cases is the public’s lack of knowledge. When I asked my friends if they had heard about these cases, none of them knew. Whether it be lack of speaking out by major news outlets or seeing a headline and forgetting it, they had no idea that 14 girls our age have been taken from their families, friends, and homes. Even though media involvement can be dangerous in some cases, news about these girls needs to come out so that the public can keep a watchful eye and even protect these girls.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are appealing to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey to open a federal investigation. They call for help because of the fear of a deeper, scarier underlying agenda and the obvious racial stigmas present.

missing DC girls
Photo Credit: bbc.com

“(W)hen children of color go missing, authorities often assume they are runaways rather than victims of abduction,” the lawmakers said. This statement has been backed up with looming facts and other reliable sources coming out to make statements as well.

DC City Councilmen Trayon White believes that there is an underlying theme of racial prejudice involved. “We had a 10-year-old girl missing the other day, but there was no amber alert,” White said. “We just feel like, you know, if this was a white person or from another neighborhood, there would be more alarm about it.”

Especially in cases involving minors, it’s critical to reach out to the public for help, as most child abduction victims are killed in the first 24 hours.  White’s concern holds a lot of standing, because although some of the 14 new cases are adults, these people have been put in a terribly unsafe position.

In fact, many DC residents believe these kidnappings to be part of a human trafficking scheme. One would believe that this fact alone is enough to spark national outcry, but we still find ourselves missing 14 girls, with limited headlines and a lack of information on how to help them, before we hear their names in eulogies.

Our Greatest Fears

Sometimes we lose the ones we love. They die from disease or even get killed. Then there are the times when they are taken from us and we are forced to imagine all the awful possibilities.

But, sometimes fate takes a hopeful turn and our loved ones are returned to us. We can only hope for the best right? That’s all we can do. A girl was found today. She and three others had gone missing about a week ago and they found her “bound and gagged in the basement of a home in Mount Vernon, Ohio.” She is safe, but who knows where the others are. Another girl was abducted in July. The mother raced after her daughters kidnapper, hoping to retrieve her four year old. She was found just a few days after. There have been seven other abductions within the last four months. As far as anyone knows they haven’t yet been found.

One Child One Life One Family

Do you remember Polly Klaas?  Polly was kidnapped on October 1, 1993. She was found, but not alive. Her death started a foundation that changed the lives of hundreds of families. The organization gives support to the devastated families of lost children. Some are never seen again. Some are found and return to the lives they once knew. So what can we do when our greatest fears come true. All we can do is hope. That’s all we can do.

My heart goes out to all families who have lost the ones they loved. Just remember there is always hope.