What About All Of America's Daughters?

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.