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Our Black Girls centers on the often-untold stories of Black girls and women who have gone missing or, in some cases, were found dead under mysterious circumstances. Launched by journalist and activist Erika Marie Rivers in 2018, the website is a one-woman show: Rivers spends her nights combing missing persons databases, archived news footage, old articles and whatever other information she can find to piece together these stories. And she does it all after her day job.

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Since the website's inception three years ago, Rivers has published an article roughly every other day. It's a grueling schedule, but she keeps it up because, as she explains, she could have easily been one of these missing girls and women. Anyone could.

Erika Marie Rivers, a journalist in California who started Our Black Girls, spends personal time researching and writing up the stories of missing Black women and girls so they aren't forgotten. Erika Marie Rivers hide caption

In light of these numbers, the disproportionate media attention on missing white girls and women is glaring. Often described as "missing white woman syndrome," the term most recently made headlines when MSNBC host Joy Reid discussed the Gabby Petito case. Petito was reported missing after her boyfriend returned from a cross-country trip without her; her case attracted nationwide coverage but put a spotlight on the harsh reality that people in other demographic groups don't receive the same attention when they vanish.

Authorities converged in Wyoming to search for Petito and found her remains at a national park. In the same state, more than 400 Indigenous girls and women went missing between 2011 and the fall of 2020, according to a state report. Indigenous people made up 21% of homicide victims in Wyoming between 2000 and 2020, despite being less than 3% of the state's population. The disparity can be seen in the media: Only 18% of Indigenous female victims received coverage. However, among white victims, 51% were in the news.

You can also support those who are doing the work through blogs and podcasts, as well as via Instagram accounts and Facebook groups dedicated to keeping people informed on the cases of missing Black girls and women. 350c69d7ab


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