Little 12 year old Tekenya Wooten was found in Durham, NC yesterday after being listed as a "runaway" from a group home. While I am relieved that she is alive, I question whether she is safe. In fact there are now more questions to be answered than yesterday when all we wanted to know was "where is she?" While making my way across the internet from blog to blog to gather information about Tekenya, I noticed so much concern for her well being, not only from missing persons sites, but from sites on a variety of subjects, and I learned a lot along the way. Thank you to all of the bloggers who banded together, black and white, to put pressure on the authorities to find her quickly, not that I am being critical of the authorities, but would they have reacted as strongly if we hadn't made the effort? Would the outcome for Tekenya have been the same?
I learned from Renee about the inequality that still runs rampant in our country and that poor little black girls are often victimized and somehow it is justified in the minds of the abusers. It is a known fact, not often discussed in the mainstream, that the
"This is not reason to let down our guard as the issue still remains how something like this could have happened and been completely ignored by the mainstream press. Black children are worth something and their disappearances need to get more coverage"I learned from Gina how one woman became actively aware of the situation with Tekenya, spent her day making calls, gathering information and disseminating it on her blog for all of us to take from there and report back to our own readers. Gina taught us all how to not take no for an answer and to persevere until you reach the person who has the answers. I also learned that it's not ok to read these stories of horror and not do something about the situation. Sometimes it only takes one move in the right direction to make a difference.
I learned from Peas in Their Pods about the "Rilya Alert", which is based on the Amber Alert, but bridges the gap for black children who may not meet the criteria for an Amber Alert. Her site is proactive in helping all women and men realize the value of their children and stepping in for them when no one else will do it.
I learned from Deidra, who has tirelessly blogged about missing blacks for quite some time. If it weren't for her efforts so many of these people would become forgotten faces on a missing person's flyer. Her site is a wealth of information to all involved in bringing awareness to the missing.
I learned from Villager and the "Lakeesha Alert" system of the disparity of coverage of missing black children.
"Upon being pushed your Lakeesha Alert button will sendI learned from my own members at Peace4 the Missing that when the call goes out, we all come together for the cause. We are known throughout as being the group that "gits it done"! When a family member comes to us for help, we respond. When someone brings us a new case, we respond. We may not have all the answers but we do have resources and people to turn to for help. People like Susan Murphy Milano and the Justice Interrrupted Team. Groups like Project Jason and Porchlight International. Sites like Help Find the Missing and Websleuths.
hyper-sonic signals to urban radio stations, online communities, urban newspapers, bloggers, street gang members ... and on the outside chance that they’re not too busy and might display a casual interest ... the police and mainstream media.
There are many, many people that tried to find and disperse the information about Tekenya the last few days, and I'm sure I don't know who all of them are. I would like to personally thank you all.
But now, for the burning question of the day....."Now What"? What is going to become of the little 12 year old pregnant Tekenya Wooten? I have read, and felt myself, that there must be something we can do for this child. There must be something we can do to let her know that there are so many who truly care for her, for her well being and the well being of her unborn child. Where does she go from here? Where will she live and how on earth will she take care of that child?
If you have any suggestions, please let them be known. I read around, as you all know, and I will help gather the information needed and do my best to somehow let Tekenya know we all care.