Missing and Murdered Black Women And Girls Are Subject Of Hearing

Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore and Commissioner Monica Gordon during a hearing about missing and murdered Black women and girls. PHOTO PROVIDED BY FIFTH DISTRICT COOK COUNTY COMMISSIONER MONICA GORDON
Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore and Commissioner Monica Gordon during a hearing about missing and murdered Black women and girls. PHOTO PROVIDED BY FIFTH DISTRICT COOK COUNTY COMMISSIONER MONICA GORDON

Missing and Murdered Black Women And Girls Are Subject Of Hearing

By Tia Carol Jones

Local elected officials, community activists and community stakeholders are calling on more resources when it comes to looking for missing and murdered Black women and girls.

On Monday, May 20th, Cook County Board of Commissioners Criminal Justice Committee convened a hearing where representatives from the Cook County States Attorney Office, Cook County Sheriff’s Department and the Cook County Department of Health talked about what their offices are doing about Black women and girls who are missing and murdered in Cook County, the city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs. Monica Gordon, 5th District Cook County Commissioner, proposed a resolution regarding the investigation of missing and murdered Black women and girls in the Chicagoland area.

The Reverend Dr. Alexis Brinkley, Chaplain of The Chicago Metropolitan Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, spoke about the need for resources to find missing Black women and girls and to solve the murders of the same population.

“When you have a targeted group of people, or even a zip code, where there’s numerous victims of violent crime and missing residents, that should sound an alarm that there is a significant problem. Unless, it is sociologically and socially engineered,” Brinkley said.

One of the reasons she gave for the number of missing and murdered Black women and girls is sex and human trafficking. Brinkley said that four out of ten women who go missing are Black, and added that, the adultification of Black youth and the marginalization of the Black community contribute to the lack of support and negligence that happens when Black women and girls are missing and murdered. She said she would like to see human and sex trafficking abolished and wants systems and structures in place like the Amber Alert, as well as immediate interventions.

Delmarie Cobb, Media and Political Consultant and Founder of Publicity Works, talked about her experience when her friend Nancy Walker went missing in 2003. She said she believes that Black women and girls who are missing deserve coverage because they are all valuable. She wants to see something tangible happen and more done to find missing Black women and girls and solve their murders.

“I think that what needs to happen is, there needs to be an accounting. The city, the state and the county need to come together and there needs to be an update of all the 51 women and girls that we keep hearing about; what’s the status of their cases, what have you done lately,” Cobb said. She added, without that accountability, the problem will not be solved.

Gordon said Black women and girls in the United States are disproportionately at risk for abuse, exploitation and homicide. She acknowledged the Missing Persons Project and the work done to address longstanding cases and seeking justice for victims and their families.

“We also recognize this issue demands a comprehensive, multifaceted approach. Violence against Black women and girls cannot be addressed solely through law enforcement measures. It requires a broad social response encompassing measures at the local, state and federal levels, as well as community-based interventions and support services,” Gordon said.

Jason Hernandez, Executive Director of Intergovernmental Relations for the Cook County Sherrif’s Office, said that the office is leading with intentionality when it comes to the plight of missing and murdered Black women. He added that addressing the issue requires a holistic approach that encompasses law enforcement, social services, robust community engagement and legislative reforms.

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