The fight for liberation must also include protecting African children. African children are the future of Africa; they are our most treasured citizens. Across the world, African children are subjected to all manners of colonial violence.
The number of missing African children in North America is alarming where 40 percent of the missing persons are African, and 35 percent of missing persons are under the age of 18. Despite knowing the statistics, African children are less likely to incite Amber Alerts, the U.S. missing alert system. Furthermore, African children are more likely to be classified as runaways. This is based on the colonial stereotypes of African children being perceived as older and African households being chaotic.
Through the work of ANWO’s campaign, #ArrestCPS, we know that African children are disproportionately kidnapped from our homes by the State, and that same State turns blind eyes to children slipping through the cracks and going missing.
My brother experienced the system before my mother adopted him when he was abandoned by his foster mom and then reported missing. This led to him being put into a juvenile detention center when his only “crime” was his mother dying from colonial diseases. It was only discovered that he was reported missing when my mother attempted to enroll him in school.
My brother’s happy ending in a loving home is a rare occurrence. More often we are exposed to children’s bodies being discovered, kids getting lost in the prison pipeline, or worse never being found.
Here in the city of Cleveland, OH the missing black teens’ rates are alarming; and it is only through black media sources and social media that attention is being shown. Black missing persons are often not considered newsworthy, which leads to thousands of African teens never being recovered or united with their families or community.
Ohio is in the top 10 states for human trafficking, and according to the mass publication, “City Beat” out of Cincinnati, “human trafficking is not only prominent among women and young girls, but there is evidence LGBTQ+ individuals and people of color are more likely to be targeted.” The publication calls human trafficking modern-day slavery by using force or fraud to compel both children and adults to provide commercial labor or sexual services.
“The fight for liberation must also include protecting African children. African children are the future of Africa; they are our most treasured citizens.”
Due to high instances of horizontal violence and poor economic conditions, African children are prime prey for traffickers and gangs conditioned to do the work of the colonial State.
We as the African community must take control of protecting our future. There are actionable things we can do:
1. Join the ANWO War Council and help set up community-led patrols to search and rescue to find missing and runaway African children.
2. Provide safe spaces for African children in volatile home environments.
3. Use African media and social media to alert of missing children.
In cities like Cleveland, OH, and St. Louis, MO abandoned homes plague the cities due to the economic oppression of African communities, consistently dominated by State policing and the strategic continuous economic attack on African communities to keep them and the inhabitants from controlling and developing for themselves.
The body of 19-year old D’Marea Thorton of Toledo, OH was found by family members searching abandoned homes in the community because they were sick of waiting for the State. We must organize our own search and rescue units in the form of ANWO War Council patrols to search abandoned homes, bus stations, unhoused encampments, etc.
Additionally, we must provide safe spaces for African children to learn and express themselves. Programs like ANWO’s Uhuru Kijiji Childcare Collective are important and should be established all over the world to provide resources, safe spaces, and communal support for African children.
Using programs like these to provide community-controlled safe spaces and programs to keep our children in constructive environments that allow them to build safe relationships and provide political education that develops them to be the best sons and daughters of the African Nation.
If we can’t do community patrols then we must utilize tools such as social media to alert our community about missing and runaway children. When African attorney Ben Crump used his social media to highlight that more than 45 African teens in Cleveland went missing and over 1,000 in the state of Ohio, it led to regional media coverage. The @ClevelandRemembrancepage Instagram page has been a powerful tool in alerting Black and missing, leading to the recovery of dozens.
African children are vital to the future of African people, and we must protect them. In this fight for liberation of our people we must not forget that to win, we must organize and be vigilant for our children.