Website Highlights the Thousands of Black Girls Who Go Missing Every Year

A new report finds that nearly 100,000 Black girls and women went missing last year and little is being done to help find them.

Now, a journalist in California is trying to help–by telling their stories.

Journalist and activist Erika Marie Rivers started the website Our Black Girls, which tells the many untold stories of Black girls and women who have gone missing or were mysteriously found dead.

“The women in these stories I report on are more than the highlight clip on the ten o’clock news,” Rivers writes on her website. “These are and were our sisters, many of whom endured deception and/or violence. We shouldn’t sweep their stories under the rug and move on to the next hot topic. We need to remember what they went through in order to change patterns of behavior.”

However, Rivers’ efforts require true commitment. She spends nights sifting through missing persons databases and old news articles to uncover information.

Rivers, 39, worked in entertainment journalism for more than a decade but is passionate about this work locating the missing girls and women—who she says could easily be her or anyone else.

Since the website started nearly three years ago, Rivers says she has published an article nearly every other day. Many of the stories involve girls and women just walking down on the street who wind up missing. 

“And I know that there are a lot of stories like that about girls and women who look like me, so why am I not seeing them as much as I’m seeing everything else? And then it became, why am I waiting for somebody else to pick up this banner when I’m the one who’s passionate about it?” she told NPR.

NPR reports that an alarming rate of Black girls and women have gone missing, but their stories are not getting the attention they deserve in news coverage when compared to White girls and women who have gone missing.

According to the National Crime Information Center, in 2020, of the 268,884 girls and women who were reported missing, 90,333, were Black.

However, Black girls and women make up just about 15% of the U.S. female population, according to census data.