Find Our Missing

– L. Arthalia Cravin

9 year old Dorien Thomas at time of disappearance in 1998 & an artist age progress photo depicting Dorien at age 19.

If you have Direct TV you may be familiar with TVONE, channel 328. Most recently this station began a program called “Find our Missing” aimed at bringing attention to the hundreds of African Americans who have simply disappeared. The program airs on Monday night at 9:00 p.m. central standard time and is hosted by S. Epatha Merkerson.

Amarillo is not unfamiliar with missing persons. In October 1998, 9 year old Dorien Thomas disappeared near Amarillo Boulevard and Ong Street. In spite of massive efforts to find him, including divers searching the bottom of Martin Road Lake, Dorien has remained missing. If alive, Dorien would now be almost 23 years old.

But Dorien is just one of scores of African Americans who have gone missing and never found. While discussing the purpose of “Find our Missing,” Ms. Merkerson said on a recent news program that “Find our Missing” is designed to bring the same type of attention to African Americans who disappear as is given to white females who disappear. Ms. Merkerson indicated that many relatives of missing African American adults and children, felt that local law enforcement officials did not intervene as early or as aggressively as they could have to find missing African Americans. This was certainly not the case with the Amarillo Police Department that went to extraordinary efforts to find Dorien. Still, there is a perception that missing African Americans simply walked away under “shady” circumstances, such as run-a-way, drug use, flight from crime, or flight from some type of “bad home life” that minimizes efforts to locate them. This is the attitude that “Find our Missing” is attempting to eradicate so that national attention can be focused on African American children and adults who are now missing.

For more information on “Find our Missing” please log on to TVONE, “Find our Missing,” and see the faces and information about scores of missing individuals. Also, the website has valuable information on how you can stay safe and protect yourself and your children from those who would harm them. The website also has valuable information on how you stack up as an eye-witness to crime.

As the show so aptly states, “people do not simply disappear into thin air.” Somebody knows what happened to Dorien Thomas. Help us Find Our Missing!

Copyright 2012 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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