Los Angeles, CA–On April 2 in Leimert Park, a #Standing4BlackGirls community action was held, to speak out and engage in an art-making event amplifying missing and murdered Black girls and women across sexuality in L.A County.
The issue of Black girls who go missing and are later found murdered continues to be a serious issue not only across the U.S, but also here in Los Angeles. California has high rates of girls and women in general, who are victims of sex trafficking. However, in comparison to other demographics, Black women and girls continue to represent larger percentages of these numbers, despite being lower in overall population.
The event was the second annual demonstration organized by the Women’s Leadership Project, to highlight the voices and stories of Black girls as well as queer youth, who are victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
Fact: In 2020, of the 268,884 girls and women who were reported missing in the U.S., 90,333, or nearly 34% of them, were Black, according to the National Crime Information Center.
In inner city communities of Los Angeles, (South Central, South L.A) Black and Brown women and girls continue to become involved in sex trafficking in alarming rates. In recent years, especially during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, missing persons fliers were constantly circulated of girls who had gone missing in South Central/South L.A.
The mother of 19-year-old Ruthey Smith is currently asking for community support after her daughter went missing along Figueroa streets in South Central, in an area known primarily for sex work. This was also the area that 16-year-old Tioni Theus was killed and her body dumped along an on-ramp of the 110 freeway.
In 2020, 23-year-old Mikeona Johnson, who was a Black mother and student went missing and was found deceased in her own car a week later. Detectives have now told Mikeona’s family they are closing the investigation into her case, although, her cause of death has not been established.
Fact: In 2020, homicides of Black women in CA nearly doubled, while domestic violence, sexual violence and intimate partner violence against Black women and girls across sexuality skyrocketed.
Fact: Black girls and women account for only about 15% of the U.S. female population. In contrast, white girls and women made up 59% of the missing, while accounting for 75% of the overall female population.
The Standing 4 Black Girls rally this weekend had speakers, artists, Black-women vendors and was led by Sikivu Hutchinson who is WLP’s founder. Her organization works with high schools students to offer mentorship, promote civic engagement and train students on advocacy and student-centered activism in their schools.