In 2014, 239,593 people of color in the U.S. went missing -- that was 37 percent of all missing person cases, according to the FBI.
That staggering fact is chilling -- but it's also what fuels the work Natalie Wilson and her sister-in-law Derrica Wilson have dedicated their time to. They founded the Black and Missing Foundation in 2008 and have since worked with families, the media and law enforcement to locate missing persons of color.
One video, released by the organization Thursday, highlights their mission to solve these disappearances and rally support around the important work the Wilson’s are committed to doing.
“When we first started we said we would be successful if we found just one person,” Natalie Wilson told the Huffington Post. “We've since found 125 people, many of them were not alive but at least family members have answers.”
Natalie, who is a public relations specialist, and Derrica, a former law-enforcement official, have utilized their expertise, time and resources to create national awareness around missing minorities and in doing so, have held a lasting influence on families and communities everywhere.
“We can no longer be on the sidelines and waiting for someone to make a change,” Natalie said. “If we don't act, who will?”
By creating fliers, connecting with communities and sharing the news on social media, the Wilsons have taken an active approach to reuniting families and raising recognition around an issue often overlooked by mainstream media.
“Here are two women who are committed to this great cause and along the way they’ve achieved success and they need all the backing and support they can get,” said Arnold Shapiro, the creator of the short film.
Shapiro also enlisted the help of actress Whoopi Goldberg to participate in the short film and share her voice. Goldberg, who is a co-host on The View, has hosted previous segments on the daytime talk show calling attention to missing persons of color and has been a vocal supporter of the organization.
“Families with a missing loved one cling to hope. The Black and Missing foundation provides that hope and help for the overwhelming number of missing people of color,” Goldberg said in the video. “They are those voices for the missing.”
On May 30, the Black and Missing Foundation will host its third annual “Hope Without Boundaries” 5K Run/Walk in Washington D.C. and all members of the community are encouraged to attend and help spread the word about an important message.
“We want families members to hold on to is hope, hope that their missing loved ones will come home, hope that the law enforcement will take their case seriously, hope that the media will help in sharing these cases,” Wilson said. ]]
“This is not just an issue that affects the minority community," Wilson said. "It affects Americans as a whole."