Opinions from Sean Beach, A’Myri Thornton, Zhiyah Anderson, and Jerell King. Edited by Sean Beach. Photo from www.heavy.com
APRIL 25, 2017: Since January 2017, there have been a numerous amount of teens missing in Washington, DC. Where are they going? Are they running away? Are they being kidnapped? Why are most of these things happening to African-American and Latino Girls? Read more to find out what teens in the community think about this issue.
Jerell King: The situation with the missing girls is a major issue for everyone in our community. Young women and anybody, in general, shouldn’t have to be worried about somebody taking them. I believe the law and the government are not doing their jobs to resolve the issue. The duty of the Police Department is to “Protect and Serve” the community. But I guess that doesn’t go for everybody. The law enforcement needs to step up and do something about our people instead of finding ways to make us look like bad guys. We may make up only a small percentage of the population, but we are still human beings who deserve to be treated as such.
Sean Beach: In 2017, there have been 190 missing cases reported in Washington, DC alone. Many of these missing people are teenage African-American and Latino girls. A lot of people believe that it is because of human trafficking. People also believe that teens are running away from home because of the conditions they live in. This really needs to be resolved because we shouldn’t have to be walking and worrying about someone trying to kidnap us. We shouldn’t always have to watch our back because there may be someone trying to sneak up on us to put us in the back of their van.
Zhiyah Anderson: Lately a lot of teenage boys and girls have gone missing in Washington, DC and it seems like there is nothing being done to fix this issue. The reason these teens are missing is either because of human trafficking or because they are running away from home. I feel like this issue is going on because the people behind this incident most likely knows that they will either not get caught or nothing bad will happen to them because the police department doesn’t take this issue very seriously. I also feel like the police department is not going to fix this problem, especially because most of these girls are African Americans and the police don’t want to help because of the race issues. If the police department actually tries to fix the problem instead of just announcing the teenagers missing and asking for information about these teens, they could actually start investigating and spend most of their time looking for the girls and boys.
This issue affects me badly because I am afraid to go anywhere and actually now know that I have to watch my surroundings much more than I used to. You can protect yourself by walking in a group or in pairs or most importantly, not walking anywhere in close spaces with headphones so you can clearly hear what’s going on in your surroundings.
The first that I heard of teenagers starting to go missing was the story about the 15-year-old girl whose murder might have something to do with the gang that she was in and she sadly ended up dead. I really do hope that all of the teens who are missing find their way back home, safe.
A’Myri Thornton: Recently a lot of African Americans and Latinos have been missing from the Washington D.C area. Some people think sex-trafficking may be going on, but the police say there is no proof/signs of that going on in the Washington D.C area. But I think there is a bigger problem here. Some of the girls aren't being kidnapped. They are running away from their homes or foster homes because they're being abused and/or neglected as well. I actually knew one of the girls who was categorized as missing, but she actually ran away from home. #BringOurMissingTeensBack.
Sean Beach, A’Myri Thornton, and Zhiyah Anderson are 8th grade scholars and Jerell King is a 9th grade scholar at Friendship Tech Prep Academy.