When a loved one goes missing, especially a child, fear and panic set in and it is imperative for you to act quickly to assist in the safe recovery of your child.
On this show you’ll be presented with information to aid in making a missing person report, provided with some history on the origination of Amber Alerts, why they are issued, and a summation of the Ashanti Alert. As your host, I will also dispel some myths about who can, when you can, and how to report your loved one missing. I was able to speak to the founder of @FindOurMissingPOC Ms. Ebony Gray who shared her mission to help find and bring missing children of color home.
The original concept for this show was to initiate a conversation about the racial disparities among missing women of color and missing white women. When missing person cases are reported by the media, people of color are vastly under represented. However, instead of stating the main reason that I deemed obvious I didn’t. I thought this conversation would be more impactful by not doing that and instead providing information and resources to help our most vulnerable: children. For starters, there are a several types of emergency alerts issued by law enforcement to aid in the search and recovery of missing persons of all ages.
- Amber Alert: AMBER Alerts are activated in the most serious child-abduction cases. The goal of an AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the community to assist in the search for and safe recovery of a missing child. These alerts are broadcast through radio, TV, road signs, cellphones, and other data-enabled devices. http://www.missingkids.org/gethelpnow/amber
- Ashanti Alert Act: The Ashanti Alert, like the other alert systems, would notify the public about missing or endangered adults, ages 18-64, through a national communications network to assist law enforcement in the search. http://www.warner.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2018/12/sen-warner-praises-final-passage-of-ashanti-alert-act This law was passed December 2018; however, it has not been implemented.
- Silver Alert: The Silver Alert system was initially created to help protect missing persons who have cognitive impairments, particularly the elderly. In most states the Silver Alert applies to the elderly, adults with a mental impairment, or both, depending on the state. The goal of the Silver Alert system is the quick dissemination of information about missing persons to law enforcement personnel as well as to the general public. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24051596/
- Blue Alert: Blue Alerts aid in the apprehension of violent criminals who have killed, or seriously injured an officer in the line of duty. Blue Alerts can also be issued when a suspect poses an imminent and credible threat to law enforcement, or when an officer is missing in the line of duty. https://cops.usdoj.gov/bluealert
Now that we know the types of alerts that are available, why aren’t they issued more often for persons of color when they go missing? The provision of as much information as possible can’t be stressed enough. I can’t pinpoint the WHY exactly; however, I’ve made some observations and learned a few things while researching this topic. Now, I’ll state what I think is the obvious.
- Racism. Black lives and the lives of people of color aren’t as valued as our white counterparts, especially white women by law enforcement or the media.
- Distrust of law enforcement. Many families are reluctant to contact police immediately due fear that an encounter may go awry.
- Immigration status. Residents who are not citizens may not contact law enforcement at all due to fear of deportation and separation of the family.
- Limited finances and limited awareness of resources. It costs money to make fliers, t-shirts and post billboards which may not be expenditures families can afford. In other instances, families can’t afford to miss work to conduct extensive searches. Often, families may not be aware of who to contact in addition to the police.
About 14% of US children are black, but black kids account for more than a third of missing child cases. https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/03/us/missing-children-of-color-trnd/index.html Now, let’s delve into what can be done to increase the visibility of missing people of color. It is imperative to provide as much information about your child or loved one as possible, from physical description (including clothing worn) to person last seen with (and their description), as well as a recent photo, how long missing and whether or not they are in imminent danger. A child being in imminent danger is the determining factor in whether an Amber Alert is issued or not. Remember the more information you provide the more effective an emergency alert will be. Don’t soley depend on law enforcement. After you have reported your child missing to law enforcement, call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST(1-800-843-5678). http://www.missingkids.org/gethelpnow/isyourchildmissing. Let people know that your child or loved one is missing, utilize social media. Organize groups inclusive of your family, friends, colleagues, fellow worshippers, and neighbors to help search for and find your child. Contact the local media (news stations, newspapers, and radio stations) to help disseminate information. If money is required to produce, fliers, t-shirts, post billboards create a crowdfunding campaign through sites like http://www.gofundme.com Most importantly, NEVER GIVE UP!
For additional resources to aid in initiating conversations about safety, assistance with the search and recovery of your child or loved one, and for support of families of missing and exploited children please visit the RESOURCES tab.
Thank for your time and attention…be safe!
Please feel free to leave a comment or make a suggestion for future topics. You may use the Contact Us form to request an interview or to book Saran Almond for speaking engagements.
All views expressed on this site are my own and do not represent the opinion of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any matter.