Magazine article The Crisis

Our Girls: More Than a Hashtag

Magazine article The Crisis

Our Girls: More Than a Hashtag

Article excerpt

The Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls (CCBWG) hosted a Convening on Missing Black Women & Girls Nationwide in April in Washington, D.C. The panel discussion at the Library of Congress brought together law enforcement, social workers, educators and community leaders to start a discussion about missing Black females.

"We're very familiar with the tragedy of young White girls and women who have been taken," said Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ). "But we rarely hear about young Black girls or young Black women."

Watson Coleman co-chairs the CCBWG with Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL). The event served as a think tank session for professionals closest to the issue of missing Black women and girls to find ways to better protect them from abduction and human trafficking.

The #MissingBlackGirls and #MissingDCGirls hashtags started trending in March after an image of four Black girls with the caption "14 girls have gone missing in the last 24 hours" went viral on social media. It sparked national outrage. A number of celebrities including LL Cool J, Russell Simmons, Tyrese and Taraji P. Henson took to Twitter, Instagram and Facebookto call for increased news coverage of the presumed missing girls. The only problem is, the viral image was incorrect.

But CNN analyst Angela Rye, who moderated the panel, noted that the core safety issue is being overshadowed by the misinformation.

"If one Black girl goes missing or if one Black boy goes missing, how many of us know that's still a problem," Rye said. …

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