Since March 19th, several missing person fliers have been shared on the Washington, D.C. police department Twitter account, many of which feature young Black and Latinx girls, several between the ages of 11 and 17. Thousands of social media users have taken to various platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, to raise awareness about the #MissingDCgirls, and celebrities aren’t staying silent on the issue, either. Viola Davis, singer Kehlani, and Olivia Wilde, among many others, have spoken out in a powerful way.
An early viral post stated that 14 girls went missing in a single day, but the D.C. police insist that the stat is inaccurate. According to a recent article from NBC Washington, the influx of missing persons appearing on the department’s Twitter feed is due to an increase in the department’s use of social media outlets to bring such issues to light.
Either way, many have stated that these numbers reflect a larger problem — that missing people of color receive less media attention than white missing persons.
Using their expansive social media reach as an opportunity to spread the word all over the world, countless celebs are joining in on the mission to locate those missing in D.C., using the hashtags #missingDCgirls and #FindOurGirls, both of which are currently trending online. (Good news — Katherine Hunter, the young woman featured in the post shared by Beyoncé’s mother Tina Lawson, above, has since been found!)
Celebrities aren’t the only ones using their voices. Insisting that the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI do their best to “devote the resources necessary to determine whether these developments are an anomaly or whether they are indicative of an underlying trend that must be addressed,” a recent letter written by Congressional Black Caucus chairman Cedric Richmond, and delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is pushing for the agencies to step up. “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,” the letter read.
So far, the collective efforts seem to be helping, and several of the missing girls have since been found, including 18-year-old Vaneisha Weaver, who was declared safe on Saturday. Unfortunately, there are many more still out there, and the work to be done is far from over.
If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of a missing person in the D.C. area you can contact the D.C. police department at 202-727-9099, or nationally at 1-800-THE-LOST.