When It Comes to Our Missing Sisters, It’s Time for our Brothers to Step Up

In recent weeks, the nation has turned its eyes to Washington, DC as our community works to make sense of our missing black and brown teens, overwhelmingly girls. While the DC Police Department reports that there is no increase in missing cases from years previous, one missing teenager is one too many. Luckily, social media has rallied support behind our cause, with celebrities and advocates alike creating awareness, and a task force has been called upon. Make no mistake, this is a test — one every citizen in the nation’s capital is prepared to pass.

As Ward 8’s member on the DC State Board of Education, I am deeply concerned that our student population is one of the hardest hit by these disappearances. Ensuring a better quality of education also means fighting for a better quality of life for our community’s sons and daughters. We must address the root causes that drove our girls out of their homes and far too often into very dangerous situations.

Right not, the DC Police Department reports 523 missing juveniles this year. While all but a handful have been solved (there are 13 currently open), every young man and woman missing from home is left open to abduction and exploitation. With all eyes on our city, we now have an opportunity to have a serious conversation with our young people who may be in crisis, with our communities that can serve as a check in many homes, and with our government that must do more to ensure safety and peace in our communities

This situation won’t be fixed with flyers and social media posts alone. We must embrace our young people with the love, support, and resources, they need long before they end up on a poster or in a news story. We must come together and provide them with safe spaces to seek help when they feel unsafe at home or in the street.

I still believe that the solutions we are looking for start right here in our community — especially from those that have for far too long been missing from the conversation: our men. That’s why I’m calling on men in our community to come together and begin that conversation on Monday, March 27th, 3pm at Ballou Senior High School to show our sisters that their brothers are in their corner. We are going to be present after school closes and present a safe route of passage, making sure they get home safely. We will also distribute helpful information for our sisters in crisis.

Thank you.

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