Saturday, August 20, 2005

The worst kind of "relief"

In a span of less than a fortnight, 2 families were the public recipients of the worst kind of relief. This morning, we had a reminder that the most dangerous time in a woman's life is during pregnancy and shortly thereafter and that the most significant increase in danger during that time is the danger of being murdered by her husband/boyfriend/father of her child. A motnth after her disappearance, Latoyia Figeuroa's family now knows where she is. Unfortunately, that knowledge comes with Figueroa's boyfriend (the father of her unborn child) and an accomplice being charged with her murder. She leaves behind a devasted family including a 7 year old daughter, heart-broken friends and a city of people saddened by the fact that a good outcome in a case such as this is all too rare.

Like the late Tamika Huston, whose remains were found barely over a week ago, Latoyia is a reminder of the importance of getting the word out about a missing person as soon as possible and the need for more approrpiate and proportionate media coverage.

Sadly, these cases seem to be too common. Taking a look at the information supplied by organizations for missing persons the one thing that sticks out is how many cases go unsolved for years. One need look no further than the new blog by Brennie Smith's best friend DeJuana Price or Kelly Jolkowski's Voice for the Missing to catch a small glimpse of the pain caused by just not knowing. There are more families in this situation that I can fathom. Richard Petrone & Danielle Imbo vanished 6 months ago; Taneke Daniels, a 26-year old mother of 3 has been missing since May; Maryland's Mia Carter who disappeared June 19th & a host of people from all over the country who've been missing for various lengths of time. In reality, no missing person is any more or any less important than anyone else, unless that person is someone you care about and then (s)he's the most important missing person in the world.

If we can't stop people from being kidnapped, murdered or just vanishing, I think those of us who are unscathed owe it to the Adam's, Brennie's, Danielle's, Jason's Latoyia's, Tamika's, Taneke's & Richard's of the world to keep up our efforts to improve our abilities to find them and help their friends & families. We seem to be making slow but steady progress at Philly Future, I just hope the media and regular people will join us before they need help personally.

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