When I was younger, my Mom always told me never go anywhere alone: there’s strength in numbers. I knew better than to leave my drink alone at a party–years before I was even allowed to attend parties. I knew how to make sure I wasn’t being followed. My Dad taught me to pay attention to my surroundings. My Dad even went so far as to tie me up! Sometimes he’d even duct tape me, tie my hands and feet and leave me on the floor and tell me to ‘escape’.
I always did.
Sometimes it took forever. I’d be near panic because I felt trapped even though I knew I was safe. I was never confused about why Dad tied me up. I was never dismissive of my Mom’s repeated warnings because I knew what they knew: no one looks for Black girls when they go missing; so DON’T GET MISSING!
I found myself sitting here in the dark staring at a bright screen and thinking about Women’s History Month and struggling to find a suitable topic. At first, I thought about writing about women and the evolution of sex; that felt boring and overdone.
I started thinking about Black women and Black girls and how we’re sexualized from a young age. Then, I started thinking about how many Black women and girls are missing because of how we’re sexualized…and how many of us stay missing because no one cares to look for us.
Thank God for social media because now we can raise the alarm about our missing loved ones right away–no 48 hour wait.
No police assuming the missing Black mother of four is out partying and being a shitty mom.
Just Black people banding together to find each other.
The problem is we cannot do enough on our own.
We need law enforcement agencies to value Black women and girls! We need them to prioritize our innocence the way they do that of White women and girls. We need law makers who care that right now there are more than 75,000 reported cases of missing Black women and girls.
With the election frenzy about to begin, everything is going to be on the table. We need to ask tough questions. We need to demand that candidates have a plan of action to find our missing loved ones. We need to have accountability standards for the way local agencies handle missing women and children. When candidates come to your townhalls, ask them what they plan to do about the thousands of missing Black women in our country.
No one is looking for us; yet if we make enough noise, we will draw their attention! 75,000 women and girls need us to be their voices.
Scream a furious scream!
Make them find our sisters!
[images from tumblr, gofundme and Twitter]