20,000 signatures reached
To: Communities in Washington D.C. and nationwide
Take the Pledge: Protect Black Girls
We believe and will fight for solutions that:
- FIND missing Black girls but also PROTECT Black girls and all youth from harm in and outside of their homes.
- Center the experiences/needs of the most vulnerable youth in our communities.
- Move beyond state policing and increasing our young people’s encounters with law enforcement and systems of authority.
- Acknowledge and build off the black communities strong legacy of caring, defending and protecting our girls and all young people
Why is this important?
We are Samantha and Chioma and we are writing you from Washington, DC. We have been working for years to protect the girls and youth that mainstream media are referring to as “missing”. We are heart warmed by the concern our nation is showing for these Black and Brown girls. But now we need your help to ensure this community awareness converts into community action to protect our youth.
The nation is in shock as the viral hashtag #MissingDCGirls forced mainstream media to amplify the news that Black and Brown girls are going missing in Washington, DC. And now, for the first time in history, some of this country’s largest news outlets are focusing on what they are considering a new phenomenon of Black girls ‘missing’ -- unfortunately, this tragedy is far from new.
Year after year, Black girls have been driven from their homes in D.C. and across the country. Black girls have often been forced to leave their homes because of circumstances beyond their control. Some are kidnapped or trafficked, and others are running from situations of harm--like poverty, abuse, neglect. This reason is why we are focusing not only on FINDING missing Black girls but also PROTECTING Black girls and all youth from harm in and outside of their homes.
Black communities have a strong legacy of caring, defending and protecting our girls and all young people beyond state policing. Lawmakers in DC have vowed to address #MissingDCGirls by putting more police on the street. But since colonization, the U.S. has used state policing to criminalize and terrorize Black communities instead of keeping them safe. Last year, the state department even released a report exposing the sexual violence police are inflicting on Black women and communities. And just a few years ago, DC Officer Linwood Barnhill Jr. was caught running a prostitution ring out of his home. So, for Black folks, protecting our young people cannot start or end with policing.
Washington, DC activist and organizers have been convening over the past several days to develop initiatives with long-term youth advocates and direct service providers. They are expected to share their solutions, needs and next steps with the public this week. But in the meantime, they need a commitment from those who care. Will you take action to keep our youth safe?