An astounding 2300 Americans go missing every single day. This to me is a staggering amount of people unaccounted for. If you find it hard to believe that this could be possible, it is because the majority of missing people receive little or no media coverage.
The public at large dictates what the media puts out there. We decide what sells newspapers and why we tune into the nightly news.
I rarely watch the news. Or I should say, that I don’t tune in on a regular basis. I scan the screen on my computer and pick and choose which stories look interesting enough to read. I glance at headlines and get the gist of things. If I am watching a specific television show and the local news stations gives its two minute blurb about what they will feature later in the evening–if it peeks my interest, I might stay tuned for the local or national news. If I am standing in line at the grocery store, I glance at the newspaper. If it looks interesting, I might buy it, but more often than not, I don’t. And that is a lot said for a former, print journalist. If I want to read real news, I tune into World Wide Hippies. It’s never watered down and it is straight up real news. WWH gets down the heart of the matter. WWH wants to inform and take care of and look out for all brothers and sisters.
I personally don’t like main stream news anymore. I often scratch my head and wonder why we focus our attention for at least six weeks of news about Tiger Woods. Wasted, wasted air time and paper. Why do we think it is so important to try and figure out whether Eric Massa groped or simply engaged in a tickle fight with someone? We get the gist of it, please move on.
Maybe we engross ourselves in these kind of stories, because it prevents us from looking at our own lives or having to deal with real issues. Real news. Real lives. Real news about real lives.
I remember the first time that I heard about missing Rochester teen, Brittanee Drexel. I was getting ready for bed, brushing my teeth and heard the words, “Missing Rochester Teen.” With toothbrush in hand, I went to the television just as they flashed her picture. See, things like that get my attention. I’m a mother and grandmother. What if it were one of mine? I would want you to pay attention. I took a good look at her face and for the next couple of days I searched for word on her.
Brittanee Drexel was able to capture Nationwide attention and she was able to stay in the news. Eventually her face and story were all over the Internet. Several Facebook pages were created for her and she became a household name. I attached her picture to the back of my car. I couldn’t sleep at night thinking about her. Where was she? What happened to her? In fact, she is still missing.
Then, I learned that Rochester had another missing person. Brian Sullivan, who had gone missing long before Brittanee had disappeared. Why hadn’t I heard about him? Why wasn’t the news media featuring Brian too? Brittanee was all over the television, Internet and radio and I wasn’t hearing anything about Brian. I began sending emails to radio and television stations asking that they also include a blurb about Brian…don’t forget Brian…please include Brian…remember Brian and nobody ever did.
World Wide Hippies featured Brian last week and we’ve decide to feature a missing person each week. We aren’t giving up.
Brian was last seen at the Burger King restaurant on Chili Avenue in Gates, N.Y. His vehicle was recovered abandoned later that day. He was last heard from when he left a friend a voice mail at 6:10 am on Sunday, July 8th. He has not been seen or heard from since.
Brittanee disappeared from Myrtle Beach while on spring break.
Natalie Holloway, Morgan Harrington, Elizabeth Smart, Brittanee Drexel, Chelsea King, and Stacy Peterson were all able to dominate the media. The NATIONAL media. Now, don’t get me wrong, they should have dominated the media. But, don’t all missing persons deserve that too? Ask yourself what all these missing girls have in common? They are young and beautiful.
Read the following list of names.
Bo Rock, Ben Roseland, Brian Shaffer, Derrick Ray Henagan, Greg Tilley. What do these names have in common and how many of these names have you heard? Honestly, heard? These are missing men.
Now read these names. Rochelle Battle, Yasmin Acree, Jaliek Rainwalker and Abree Forkpa. What do these names have in common? Again, how many do recognize? These are the names of African Americans who are missing.
With 2,300 reported missing every day, males make up for roughly half of that number.
About four out of 10 missing adults are white and three of 10 are black. Looks to me like men don’t stand much chance for media attention. Most people will say that they feel men can fend for themselves and it is harder to give sympathy for a missing male than it is to give for a young, attractive female. While that may be plausible, never the less, these men are missing and for one reason or another can’t make it back home.
If roughly 45% of missing person are African Americans, why is it estimated that they only receive 16% media coverage?
Economic, social and ethnic backgrounds play a part in the search for over 106,000 missing persons a year in America. We tend to sympathize with young, white women, while white men and African American men, women and children are largely ignored.
Latasha Norman went missing the same time Stacey Peterson did. Do you remember hearing her name or seeing her in the news? The vast majority will answer that they do not recall hearing her name. Latasha, an African American, was reported missing and later found murdered. I never saw her on my national news, but I did see Stacey Peterson…and so did you.
Jon Benet received national attention (again, and rightly so), but how many of you know the name Lindsey Baum who has disappeared? Or how about Mya Lyons? Her mother still goes door-to-door searching for information in 9-year-old girl’s stabbing death. Her daughter’s body was found in an alley a year ago in July. An Amber Alert was never issued for African American child, Mya Lyons. Why?
The Amber Alert is named after Amber Hagerman who was abducted while riding her bike and later discovered murdered. It is designed as an emergency broadcast system.
The RILYA Alert system was created by the staff at Peas In Their Pods in conjunction with the creator of the Amber Alert, however I have found that most media outlets are unaware of the RILYA Alert, that helps to spread awareness about the fact that African American children account for over 45% of all missing and abducted children.
The RILYA Alert system is named for Rilya Wilson, a little girl, that was placed into foster care and fell though the cracks of the Florida Department of Children Services and remains missing. It is said that RILYA stands for Remember, I love you always…
So, what if we cut two minutes of Tiger Woods story and featured two missing people on our local news every night? What if every newspaper featured a missing person every day in their newspaper? What if a radio broadcast mention a missing person?
With the millions of dollars spent on advertising for television commercials, why don’t these sponsors list a missing person and tag their product to it?
Why don’t we see a two minute blurb and fan the faces of the missing during half time at the Super Bowl?
It is possible to reach the masses, we just don’t want to. And it is possible to cross gender and racial lines and make sure all missing people are advocated for.
Facebook has become new way to network and get the faces of the missing out there, that normally wouldn’t be seen. The Internet, itself, has proved to be an invaluable tool in getting information out quickly.
See, I can’t pretend that I don’t know, what I know. I can’t pretend that there aren’t mothers out there with aching arms and fathers with broken hearts…I can’t pretend that I don’t see their faces.
If each one us had the courage to post a missing person each day or even each week, we could reach the masses and maybe some of these people will be found. We can give equal attention to those that are missing. For the ones that are ignored are also waiting to be found. They need our voice and guidance to lead them home.
Below, please join a cause and help find the missing.
Also please feel free to add a missing person in the comment section and let’s network together.
Peas in Their Pods Children.Every 40 seconds a child is reported missing in the United States. Of these missing children, under 45 percent are African American children. http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=630138112&ref=ts
Help Find Lindsey Baum: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=232756400716&ref=ts
Help Find Brian Sullivan: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=145612036015&ref=ts
Bo Rock http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=824499389&ref=ts
Rick Morse: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=829993079&ref=ts
National Center for Missing & Exploited: http://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Center-for-Missing-Exploited-Children/32507971987?ref=ts
Kelly Sue Ackernecht: http://www.facebook.com/KellisueAckernechtMissing?ref=ts
Brian Shaffer: http://www.facebook.com/findbrianshaffer?ref=ts