Until social media erupted in response to D.C. police’s refusal to look for hundreds of missing Black and Latinx teen girls, no one seemed to be giving the epidemic a second thought. There were no Amber alerts, no press, no citywide manhunts—nothing. They were being branded “runaways” and “critically missing” instead of abducted. Why??? Actress Sanaa Lathan made it crystal clear that there is one definitive reason why: racism.
TMZ caught up with her and asked her what she thought about why there is a lack of urgency to find the girls. “That’s part of our beloved conditioning of our country, unfortunately, with the press. There has been a certain type of race that gets all the attention and now, finally, thank God, because of social media people are, you know, saying we are all American, all races. There’s pain that happens in every community and we, um, have to look out for all of us,” she said.
She is hopeful that some real change is going to happen, but she credits social media for putting the pressure on leadership, the press, and law enforcement. Hashtags like #MissingDCGirls and #FindOurGirls have been instrumental in galvanizing online activism.
If you’re wondering why TMZ would ask Lathan about the tragedy, it is because her latest project centers around police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement. She calls Shots Fired a ’10-part movie’ that was born out of the George Zimmerman trial, the murder of Philando Castile, and countless other Black people whose lives have been cut short at the hands of law enforcement. In it, she plays an investigator who will stop at nothing to get justice.
The devaluation of a Black life has made it easy to not only get away with murdering Black people, it has enabled vultures who exploit missing minority teen girls. According to the Huffington Post, D.C. police also have a sordid history of being involved in sex trafficking. That is yet another reason why some cops aren’t looking for these young people—they already know where they are.
As much as people might want to pretend that racism isn’t alive and well in this country, turning a blind eye won’t solve the problem. There is a much bigger agenda at hand, people. Stay woke.