Carlee Russell is Safe, but What About Other Missing Black Women in Philly and Nationwide
Carlee Russell was the 1st Missing Black Woman to Make National News — Hopefully, She Won’t be the Last
Carlee Russell became a national news sensation as the Twitterverse united to #FindCarlee. Luckily, she’s home safe now and her case is under investigation, but there are several missing Black and brown women and children in Philadelphia and they don’t make local news — much less national news. Why?
Did you know the Philadelphia Police has a Missing Persons Page called the Blotter? I didn’t and when the news broke about Carlee nobody mentioned any of the missing women and children in Philly.
I’m not here to debate the validity of Carlee Russell’s story nor will I apologize for being happy she returned home, but far too many people have just vanished or aren’t found until it’s too late like Toyin Salau.
In August 2020, despite desperate calls for police to investigate and national coverage for the missing activist Toyin was found murdered — 9 days after she was reported missing. I wrote about her story and it broke my heart when she was found. Her story was so sad because the same man who murdered her, killed an elderly woman that same week and the police could have possibly saved both women. They were both allegedly held hostage for days before their tragic death.
Carlee’s story helped to shed light on bias in reporting missing Black women and children. Of the nearly 550,000 people who went missing in 2022, more than 35% were Black, though Black people make up only 13% of the U.S. population. The vast majority of the more than 190,000 Black people who went missing last year are children under 17, according to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center’s (NCIC) Missing Person and Unidentified Person statistics, and just over half are women and girls. (Edward, 2023)
Some people like to say the system is broken, but it’s not — it’s working the way people in the newsrooms want them to. The Atlanta Daily World said, “The Pew Research Center’s analysis of newsrooms found 77 percent of newsroom employees are white. The Center for Policing Equity found local police departments…