By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In America.com Staff Writer
Let’s start this feature by looking at the numbers.
- According to the FBI, about 270,000 people of color went missing last year.
- Blacks are approximately 13 percent of the country’s population, yet they make up more than 33 percent of those reported missing in the FBI’s database.
- According to the National Crime Information Center, there were almost 30,000 active missing persons cases in the country.
- Blacks make up almost 12,000 of those cases or about 40 percent.
- Of the 173 Amber alerts in 2010, 30 percent were for black children.
- 40 percent of all persons missing in the United States are of color.
This data and the obvious disparity in media coverage between black and white missing persons served as motivation for Derrica and Natalie Wilson to establish the Black and Missing Foundation, Inc., (BAM FI) in 2008. The non-profit foundation’s mission is to bring awareness to missing persons of color; provide vital resources and tools to missing person’s families and friends and to educate the minority community on personal safety.
This is where “we” come in. That’s right, “we.” “We” have resources. “We” talk to each other. “We” have access to a variety of media including print, television and the Internet. One person can make a difference in the recovery of a missing person. To date, Black and Missing Foundation has played a role in over 70 reunifications or closures for families.
The most recent example of success in this area came last week (February 27, 2012). If you watch ABC TV’s daytime talk show “The View,” you saw Derrica Wilson and 16 year-old missing teen Mishell Green’s family talk about Mishell being found and reunited with her family after having her case featured on the popular talk show.
Green disappeared more than five months ago heading to an after-school program in Manhattan, New York. An anonymous viewer who recognized Green’s profile from the segment on “The View” immediately called Black and Missing Foundation to report Green’s whereabouts, which led to her recovery. That call that led to the recovery of Mishell Green reportedly happened 15 minutes after the segment aired on the show. Mishell was recovered a few hours later. This reunion is a clear example of why “we” need to be involved in the recovery of missing people in our community.
Natalie and Derrica Wilson
Click here to visit Black and Mission Foundation to learn more about this organization and how you can get involved.