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Missing black girls in D.C. bring national attention to an epidemic

Amrit Singh

 // Mar 24, 2017

"Ten children of color went missing in our nation’s capital in a period of two weeks and at first garnered very little media attention. That’s deeply disturbing." This chilling passage comes from a letter sent by Congressional Black Caucus chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton of D.C. to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and F.B.I. Director James Comey, urging them to devote federal resources to a frightening phenomena only now entering the national discourse.

There have been 501 missing juveniles reported in D.C. since the beginning of this year, many of whom are black and Latinx. As of March 22nd, 22 of those cases remain unsolved. This comes according to the AP, who also obtained Richmond's letter to Sessions and Comey.

During a meeting on Wednesday, President Trump assured members of the CBC that he would make cabinet members available to address this issue. But the Caucus awaits any direct response from AG Sessions or Director Comey.

The CBC's meeting and letter built on social media dialogue sparked by #missingDCgirls and #missingblackgirlsDC, which in turn proliferated due to the D.C. police department's increased activity in posting missing persons to their Twitter account.

While acting D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham says this year's statistics do not represent a spike (the past few years have seen 200 people go missing each month), the numbers are arresting and illustrative of a persistent terror.

As of Friday, six of the juveniles referenced in Richmond's letter had been found; four still were missing. As of this writing, 40% of reported missing children are minorities. And as of this writing, none of the missing D.C. teens have Amber alerts out in there name.

Officials state there is a specific set of criteria for Amber alerts, which none of these teens happen to meet.

But perhaps it is time for a new set of criteria for Amber alerts? Maybe it's time to look into the reason there's a disproportionately large number of minority children being abducted? Or maybe it's time for the Attorney General and FBI to get involved?

Because make no mistake: This is from a D.C.-only problem. (Chicago, Detroit, and the list goes on.)

"The Attorney General is aware of the reports and is looking into the issue," said Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores. Sessions was reportedly briefed on the D.C. girls on Friday. The FBI has not commented on the matter.

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