A submission of three of John W. Fountain's columns won the 1st Place NABJ "Salute To Excellence" Award for column, newspapers under 100,000. One of them was a nostalgic piece about my beloved K-Town neighbor, Mr. Newell.
Many thanks to editor Paul Saltzman for submitting Fountain's work. He is humbled for the National Association of Black Journalists bestowing upon him this honor.
Gabby Petito, 22, was reported missing on Sept. 11, while traveling across the US. with her fiancé.
Her remains were discovered Sept. 19, in Wyoming.
By John W. Fountain
The disappearance and death of Gabby Petito, 22, is a great tragedy and loss, and my heart goes out to her and her family. We should all mourn for Gabby. For this is an American tragedy.
But we should equally mourn for Reo-Renee Holyfield. For Gwendolyn Williams, Nancie Walker, and the mostly 51 African-American women in Chicago slain from 2001 to 2018, and discarded like trash, set on fire or mutilated and whose murders remain mostly unsolved.
Theirs is equally an American tragedy. Like the stories of thousands of missing and murdered women across America whose stories don't get the national—or local—press' attention the way stories of missing or murdered white women do.
It is a glaring tale of great disparity, one in which the American press, which purports to be fair and equal and a purveyor of truth, fairness and democracy ignores the stories of so many of America's daughters slain, missing, stolen... Missing are the stories of America’s daughters of color.
That much is clear even in the story of the Unforgotten 51, and untold thousands of missing women of color nationwide.
This story keeps cropping up. Every time a white woman or girl goes missing. Then the disparity glares—at least for those of us in communities of color...
Theirs is an American tragedy in Black and white. It is revealing with glaring clarity—a tale of the disparity in the media’s coverage of cases of murdered of missing Black women and other women of color. A real-life tale of the gaping divide in how law enforcement and society at large views and treats their cases, which far exceed the rate of violent crime against white women.
|The Unforgotten 51 is a project undertaken by John Fountain and his students at Roosevelt University and examined the case of 51 mostly African-American women slain in Chicago from 2001 to 2018.|
Protestors lead the way with a banner in the “We Walk for Her March” march held Tuesday, June 22.
By John W. Fountain
She walked for her--this palpable trail of humanity and collective tears flowing down South King Drive, their chants rising in unison from here and the grave into the warm summer air in remembrance of those Black girls and women no longer able to speak for themselves.
Their voices resounded with a call for closure. For justice. For answers, and ultimately for an end to the slaying of young Black women and girls strangled, suffocated, shot or mangled, their bodies discarded like yesterday’s trash.
They spoke. For those Black girls and women abducted or who suddenly vanished without a trace, like a vapor.
For the dead, they walked. For those whose innocent blood still cries from premature graves.
|Father Michael L. Pfleger stands during a march last year to protest the killing of George Floyd and the continuation of systemic racism. (Photo credit: John W. Fountain)|
By John W. Fountain
I stand with Father Pfleger.
Oh, I hear you, dear Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, in purporting to be on the side of justice and transparency in your silencing and removing of the nationally renowned, longtime pastor of the Faith Community of St. Sabina while officials conduct a probe into allegations of sexual abuse of a minor more than 40 years ago.
Indeed I am among the multitude that believes that truth and justice--no matter how long delayed--must prevail. That we must, at all costs, protect the least of these: Our children.
I hear you, trust me, I do. Even as I stand painfully aware of the Catholic church’s well-documented ferrying of known pedophile priests from parish to parish while paying incalculable sums in settlements to sex abuse victims--including a reported more than $200 million by the Chicago Archdiocese.
"How often does the church’s hierarchy venture beyond its majestic gothic headquarters to touch the untouchable in Englewood?"
Imagine. If the ocean could cry. If the walls did cry. If the sands could speak. If the cells here in Cape Coast would try to tell the tale of blood lost, of tears shed. Of souls dead. Imagine…
These were the words I penned shortly after visiting the former slave castle in Cape Coast, Ghana, in 2007--a hauntingly majestic white stone fortress overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Standing on that side of the Atlantic upon this castle, where my ancestors began their shackled journey to North America, staring into waves that lapped at its shores, I was awash in Black history. Moved in ways I had not been before by our story as African Americans, by our journey, which did not begin in 1619.
|Father Michael L. Pfleger, senior pastor of the Faith Community of St. Sabina|