By Lizette Nsilu, 12th grade
Black girls that go missing and/or have been murdered are not publicized and looked for as much as white girls. Police and society assume we’ve run away and refuse to value our lives rather than take action
Being from Los Angeles, it’s normal to see missing posters with Black girls on a daily basis. When I’m scrolling on Instagram, I always see a picture of a missing Black girl in L.A. being reposted by my friends. And everyday it hits closer and closer to home. A prime example that comes to mind is that of Tioni Theus. Tioni Theus was a young girl the same age as me who was murdered and thrown onto the 110 freeway offramp in January, 2022. People I go to school with knew her and can speak highly of who she was, but until people on social media started sharing her story, she wasn’t published on the news and getting the attention she deserved. But with things like this happening in my community, I can’t help but worry if my friends and I will be the next ones on those missing posters or found dead.
Every year, tens of thousands of Black girls go missing, while four Black girls or women are killed nearly every single day in America. We are only 14% of the population, yet we make up over 40% of those who are missing. Now, if this isn’t alarming, I don’t know what is. According to vpc.org, Black women are three times more likely to be murdered than white women. 56% of these homicides are committed by a current or former intimate partner, and 92% of these killings are committed by a Black man against a Black woman. So, not only are we targeted more, but we’re also more likely to be murdered by people we trust and people who look like us. This is not acceptable. Young Black girls and women die unnecessary deaths daily. We need to make a change immediately before the girl on the poster becomes your friend, sister or mother. Police need to immediately start searching for these young missing Black girls and women instead of waiting and assuming they’re dead, and the media needs to spread as much awareness as possible. Without everyone contributing as a whole to decrease these numbers, Black femicide will continue to grow for years to come. Just a simple reshare of a missing girl could make all the difference in our communities. Although we cannot depend on the police to have our backs, we can always depend on each other as Black girls and women to have our backs and look out for our own welfare.
If you, or anyone you know, has information on the whereabouts of an African American missing person, please don’t hesitate to use the resources listed below.