Relisha Rudd, still missing from Washington, D.C.
The Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls convened a town hall Wednesday at the Library of Congress to announce plans to investigate and report on the overlooked problem of trafficked and missing Black children, CNN reports.
“We don’t want to just talk about the problems, we want to think about the solutions,” said Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill), a founding member of the caucus, at the town hall.
This comes at a time of increased awareness of the issue, sparked by shock and outrage over a sudden rise in social media attention in March to missing Black and Latina girls in the nation’s capital.
Black and Missing Foundation reported in 2014 that 64,000 Black women and girls were missing nationwide.
Panelists at the event said they want to dispel the myth that most missing Black girls are troubled teens who either ran away from home or involved in illegal activities.
CNN said Stephanie Cooney, with the Black Women’s Health Imperative, underscored that many of them are abducted.
“Traffickers know where minors frequent. They know where to meet them. They know where to talk to them. They can very well be your community members,” Cooney stated at the town hall.
Activists called on Congress to put more resources into addressing the problem and to collaborate with government agencies and advocacy groups.
The caucus, co-founded in 2016 by Kelly, Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), vowed to join the effort and work earnestly toward a solution.
PHOTO: Relisha Rudd family